Written by 4:45 pm Society

More Moroccan irregular migrants favor dangerous Balkan river route, increasing disappearances

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The number of missing Moroccan irregular migrants crossing from the Balkans continues to rise, as a Moroccan family faces the pain of losing all contact with their son after he attempted to cross the Kupa River separating Croatia and Slovenia.

Hespress AR spoke to the family of the missing young man, Ayoub Baidouni, who moved to Turkey a year ago in an attempt to migrate through the Balkan countries.

“After many attempts, he tried eight days ago to cross the Kupa River, and since that moment his family has no longer heard from him.”

Friends of the 29-year-old young man who accompanied him on the crossing told his family that he had drowned, according to the family’s statements.

Missing Moroccan irregular migrants in the Balkan route is not new, as many international domestic reports confirm that “the crossing of migrants in the Balkan region poses many risks, most notably disappearance and drowning in rivers, or exposure to torture by border control forces and widespread gangs, in addition to…the possibility of being killed by wild animals.”

Youssef Al Baidouni, the elder brother of the missing young migrant, tells Hespress AR that “the family lost contact with him 12 days ago, when he decided on March 10 to swim across the Kupa River in the middle of the night.”

Al Baidouni added that his brother suddenly informed them of this attempt on March 7, “because he and his three companions were in a hurry to leave the area they were in, for fear that the border police would notice them.”

“Ayoub left his city of Meknes and Morocco last year, heading towards Turkey, in an attempt to cross to Europe through the Balkan route,” said the brother, noting that he was communicating with them “on a daily basis and without fail.”

The brother of the missing migrant said losing contact with his brother was “unnatural.”

“Receiving news of his drowning from his companions who crossed the river with him increases the possibility of losing him,” explained the brother, adding that “one of those who crossed with him called the family and told them that he had not seen him since he went into the river.”

The distraught brother is calling on Moroccan authorities to intervene, to persuade their counterparts in Croatia and Slovenia to search for the missing person, explaining that members of his family “went to authorities regarding to the disappearance,” but they fear the young man’s irregular status could dissuade authorities from conducting an in-depth search.

The reason why Ayoub and his companions, along with hundreds of irregular migrants chose the Balkans and river route, is that “the crossing from Kupa has less border guards, mostly stationed on land.”

15 days ago, Moroccan national “Mohammad” from Oujda found his brother dead, after trying to cross a river separating Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

According to Hespress, Mohammad went to Serbia, where he convinced local authorities to search for his brother a year after he went missing, only to confirm his death late last month.

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