Gallery: Voices from Gourougou
To reach the mountain and its hideouts, Abdou and his friends have to walk a long way. They wash the few clothes they have in the stream and use boiled river water for drinking.
Not only Nador but also Melilla can be seen from the Gourougou.
Migrants are forced to live in poverty because they cannot work in the country.
The people living on Gourougou are all young men from West Africa. Most of them – even if some could be considered to be refugees – say they have been pushed to leave by poverty, unemployment and the need to support their family.
Migrants living on Gourougou Mountain gather together around small bonfires used for cooking, for making tea and, in winter, for warmth.
Abdou’s camp is far from the road, on top of the Mountain, as hidden as possible from the security forces. Migrants complain about raids, detention and deportation from Nador to the border with Algeria.
The harsh living conditions, with barely any food or water and having to sleep on the ground, takes a heavy toll on health. Common complaints include gastrointestinal problems, skin diseases or respiratory infections.
MSF runs monthly mobile clinics, and regularly distributes cleaning materials and, in winter, blankets and jackets.
The number of people given medical attention after being injured by security forces, when falling from the fence, or when fleeing from police has increased this year in Nador.
“The living conditions on the mountain drive us to the fence. Here we hardly manage to sleep or eat. We live like cavemen”, explains Mussa.
Mussa has just made his second attempt to jump the fence into Melilla. He says he is going to keep on trying, although he’ll stay away from the sea. Two of his colleagues drowned in an attempt to cross the Strait of Gibraltar.
Migrants in Nador are living not only on Gourougou Mountain, but also on the outskirts of the town. Hidden in the bush, sheltered in makeshift tents, hundreds are waiting to be able to cross to Europe in rubber dinghies or small boats. Despite reports of capsized vessels and drownings, they do not give up their hope of reaching Europe.