a recent attempt by migrants to climb the fence between Morocco and Ceuta | Credit: EPA
a recent attempt by migrants to climb the fence between Morocco and Ceuta | Credit: EPA

Spain's Guardia Civil requested more support to patrol the border of the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in Morocco, including a 25 percent increase in personnel and new surveillance cameras.

According to a Monday report in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, the country's Guardia Civil has requested a 25 percent increase in anti-riot personnel and a modernization of the protection barrier at the border with Ceuta in order to deal with the growing number of migrants attempting to storm the Spanish enclave in Morocco. 

Data by the Spanish interior ministry indicated that a reported 19,983 migrants have landed on Spain's coasts since the start of 2017. That's a 44 percent increase on 2016. An additional 3,204 migrants reached Spanish territory through the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.

The rising number of migrants on Spanish territory was mainly due to good weather conditions over the past few months, tighter European search operations along the central Mediterranean route between Libyan and Italian coasts, and a series of conflicts in central areas of Morocco that have monopolized the attention of Moroccan police forces, according to the report. 

Western Mediterranean route gains momentum 

The western Mediterranean route is being increasingly used by human traffickers, according to Guardia Civil analysts quoted in the report. The analysts cited as a priority ''permanently boosting surveillance services at the Ceuta border with units specialized in rejecting'' migrants, including anti-riot police. 

Three units, each composed of 20 officers, are currently deployed at the border and the Guardia Civil is asking at least for a 25 percent increase in personnel. 

More personnel, resources at border 

Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido announced last September an immediate increase in ''human and material resources'' after the temporary closure of the border pass of El Tarajal to retailers and street vendors, due to the emergency. Zoido announced a ''major investment'' by the Spanish government to modernize the double barrier at the border with the installation of new security cameras and had said that drones could be used for surveillance purposes, although this was later ruled out due to strong winds in the area.

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