Seun Kuti has cancelled his performance in Morocco this weekend to mourn 23 sub-Saharan migrants who died last Friday trying to break into the Spanish enclave of Melilla, which neighbours the North African nation.
“It pains me to say that my spirit has been completely broken and shattered by the events that happened,” the 39-year-old musician said in a video posted on Instagram.
The youngest son of the late pioneering Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti performed at the Glastonbury Festival last weekend with his father’s Egypt 80 band.
The musicians were all meant to be heading to the Jazzablanca Festival in Casablanca for a performance this Saturday, but he said they had made a hard decision to cancel the engagement.
“It isn’t possible for me in good faith or in good conscience to get on stage and party and have a good time when so many Africans have lost their lives,” he said.
Between 1,500 and 2,000 migrants who had been camping in the Moroccan mountains surrounding Melilla descended on the city’s border last Friday hoping to scale the border fences and therefore reach Spanish territory.
In the chaos that followed, many of them were crushed between the six-metre-high fences and Moroccan border guards, who used tear gas and batons on the migrants.
“Somebody has to mourn them. We have to mourn our own and for that reason I cannot find it in me to be at Casablanca. I am really sorry,” Kuti said.
The UN has called for an independent inquiry into the deaths of the 23 migrants. The Spanish prime minister has blamed people traffickers for the deaths.
A message accompanying Kuti’s video said: “May the souls of the departed find rest with the ancestors.”