From file: Migrants climb the fence on the border between Melilla and Morocco | Photo: Reuters
From file: Migrants climb the fence on the border between Melilla and Morocco | Photo: Reuters

53 migrants have climbed a barbed-wire fence into the Spanish enclave of Melilla in North Africa. Spanish guards stopped more than 200 others from entering.

On Monday about 260 people tried to storm the heavily fortified border between the Spanish-controlled territory of Melilla and Morocco. Guardia Civil police force chief Jose Manuel Santiago said the migrants used metal hooks and threw rocks at police. 53 managed to get through.

One officer was slightly injured and two migrants were arrested, the Spanish government representative in Melilla said.

A Red Cross spokesman said that volunteers had assisted several migrants with cuts and bruises at the gates of Melilla's temporary migrant internment center, and that at least four of them had been transferred to a hospital with possible bone fractures and other ailments.

Tighter border controls

Spain is under a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Thousands of police have been deployed to enforce the ban on the movement of people.

"We will continue to work with Morocco to avoid [breaches of the border], we will not let down our guard," police chief Santiago said.

••• ➤ Also read: Morocco tightens border controls to Spanish enclave Ceuta

The two North African enclaves, Melilla and Ceuta, are the European Union's only land borders with Africa.

Migrants regularly try to enter the enclaves by scaling the border fences, but the number of crossings has declined. In the first three months of 2020, 1,140 succeeded in making the land crossing, 214 fewer than during the same period last year, according to the Spanish interior ministry.

With AP, AFP

••• ➤ Also read: Europe's razor-wire borders in Africa


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