Video of African men running by highway is from Morocco, not Spain

By: Naledi Mashishi
May 31 2024

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
Video of African men running by highway is from Morocco, not Spain

Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts


The Verdict False

The video was shot in Morocco near the Ceuta border and shows an unsuccessful attempt by migrants to cross the border.

Claim ID d6fdeabc


Migration and concerns around asylum seekers in Europe have become dominant issues ahead of the upcoming EU elections. On May 29, 2024, multiple social media users shared a video on X (formerly Twitter) claiming it shows African migrants in Spain. 

The video, taken from inside a car, appears to show a highway. It shows dozens of African men running and walking along the side of the highway. 

One X user captioned the video, “Apocalypse in Spain. Not a child, not a woman. Only young men who are not running away from any war or repression. This is not normal. Europe, wake up, it may already be too late.”

A second user captioned it, “🇪🇸🇪🇸🇪🇸When is it going to be called out as an invasion???” 

But context clues, including the language spoken in the video and the vehicle license plates, indicate that the video is not from Spain, but Morocco.

What we found

The first indication that the video may not be from Spain is the speaker, who can be heard off-camera. The language they are speaking is not Spanish and instead more closely resembles Arabic. 

A reverse-image search reveals that the video was first posted online on November 17, 2023. The video caption is in Arabic, and a machine translation reads, "Hundreds of migrants trying to reach Ceuta.” Ceuta is an autonomous Spanish territory located at the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar, a channel between northern Morocco and southern Spain. The border is heavily fortified to prevent asylum seekers from crossing it to enter the EU. 

A second version, posted on November 18, has an Arabic caption that translates to, “Immediately this morning, a huge wave of African clandestine migrants obstructs traffic on the Jebel Moussa Tangier-Ceuta road.” Jebel Moussa, or Jebel Musa, is a mountain in Morocco's northernmost region. Google Maps indicates that a route from the mountain leads directly to the entrance of Ceuta. 

Google Maps image showing a route between Jebel Musa and Ceuta (Source: Google Maps/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

The video is taken in a mountainous area, with peaks clearly visible, making it plausible that it could have been taken on this route. Photos of Jebel Musa show that the rock face and foliage is similar to that in the video.

The second indication that the video is not from Spain is the vehicle license plates. In the graphic below, the top image shows a Spanish license plate. These have black lettering on a white background and an EU flag visible on the left side. The image below is a screenshot of a vehicle license plate visible in the video. This license plate has similar lettering but no EU flag, what appears to be an Arabic character in the middle, and the number 40 on the right side. 

A Spanish license plate (above) and a Moroccan license plate (below). (Source: Licenseplatemania/YouTube/Screenshot/Composite by Logically Facts)

A second visible license plate in the video has the number 44 on the right side of the plate. These numbers are codes that indicate which region in Morocco the cars are registered in. The number 40 is a code for the Tangiers region, while the number 44 is code for the city Tétouan. 

Screenshots of vehicle license plates visible in the video. (Source: YouTube/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)

Both areas are located in north Morocco near Ceuta. This suggests that the video was taken in this region.

A Spanish-language publication confirmed these findings. According to an article published on November 17, 2023, by Ceutaldia, approximately a hundred African migrants attempted to cross the Ceuta border to enter the European Union. They were able to temporarily evade Moroccan authorities but were ultimately prevented from entering Ceuta by Spanish border officials.

The verdict

X users posted a video of African men running by a highway to claim the video showed migrants in Spain. Through geolocation tools and a Spanish-language news outlet, we were able to find that the video was shot in Morocco near the Ceuta border and depicts an unsuccessful attempt by migrants to cross the border. Therefore, we have rated this claim as false. 

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before