Over 200 migrants force way into Spain

Migrants queue up inside a holding centre after climbing a fence to enter the Spanish enclave of Melilla on Friday.  

More than 200 sub-Saharan African migrants brandishing bottles, sticks and stones stormed into Spain’s northwest African enclave of Melilla from Morocco on Friday.

In a statement from the Interior Ministry’s Melilla office, the storming was the second in a week and led to the injury of one police officer, who was apparently struck by a migrant on the head with a stick in the pre-dawn melee.

According to the police, some 300 migrants attempted to cross the six-meter (20-feet) high double barbed wire border fence, with 214 managing to get in.

Thousands try each year to enter the city, which is on the Mediterranean Sea, and Spain’s other coastal enclave, Ceuta, in the hope of achieving a better life in Europe.

On February 6, at least 15 migrants drowned while trying to enter Ceuta by sea.

Carlos Montero, who runs the temporary accommodation centre in Melilla for migrants, told Spanish National Radio that the facility now has 1,300 migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa. The centre was intended to only house 500.

Those that manage to cross into the enclaves are normally placed in temporary centres while authorities try to repatriate them.

In recent months Moroccan authorities have been trying to clear forest areas around the enclaves, moving migrants to cities far from the border. There are an estimated 25,000 sub-Saharan Africans living illegally in Morocco, most hoping to make it to Europe.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 6:50:04 PM |

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