Around 30 of the 300 people who tried to storm the fence on Thursday managed to get through | Photo from file: picture alliance
Around 30 of the 300 people who tried to storm the fence on Thursday managed to get through | Photo from file: picture alliance

A man died on Thursday when a group of about 300 tried to storm the border fence separating the Spanish enclave Melilla from Morocco. Spanish authorities also discovered a boat near the Canary Islands with ten corpses on board.

The Spanish government's local representative said the man who fell from the triple barbed wire fence on Thursday while trying to get across into Melilla died from "natural causes". His identity and nationality were not known.

The man fell from a height of about five meters and emergency services on the ground were not able to revive him, a local police spokesperson said.

"It was dark, the area was unknown," they added. Another eight migrants and three police officers were injured. 

"It was not a violent assault, there was just the typical pushing of those trying to get in who we did not let through," the police spokesman said.

About 30 of the roughly 300 migrants who stormed the triple barbed wire fence that separates Melilla from Morocco managed to get into the tiny Spanish territory, the statement said.

The rest were "intercepted and rejected" by Moroccan security forces, it added.

The Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, separated from Spain by the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea | Credit: InfoMigrantsMass attempt

It was one of the largest such mass attempts to cross over the border into Melilla, which along with Spain's other northern African enclave of Ceuta, have the European Union's only land borders with Africa.

Lockdown measures introduced to fight the coronavirus pandemic have reduced the arrival of migrants in Ceuta and Melilla.

During the first seven months of this year, 3,136 migrants managed to enter Ceuta and Melilla, according to interior ministry figures.

Around 42 migrants are rescued off the south coast of Gran Canaria Canary Islands Spain 8 February 2016  Photo EPASpanish Maritime Rescue ServiceTen dead found drifting near Canary Islands

Spain's maritime rescue service discovered a boat near the Canary Islands on Wednesday with up to 10 dead migrants on board.

The shipwreck was spotted by a plane as it searched for a missing boat that had left Mauritania on August 15 with around 40 people on board and was believed to be heading to the Spanish islands off northwest Africa.

Two Spanish rescue service vessels reached the shipwreck about 150 kilometers south of the island of Gran Canaria. They were waiting for Guardia Civil police officers to arrive and remove the bodies, providing an exact number of deaths.

The route from western Africa to Spain's Canary Islands is notoriously dangerous. Yet in recent times, it has increasingly attracted migrants wanting to reach European soil, as authorities on Mediterranean routes have cracked down on migrant boats.

Since August last year, at least 357 migrants have died trying to reach the Canary Islands, according to UN migration agency IOM.

Also read: Migrant boat capsizes off Mauritania coast leaving just one survivor

So far this year, more than 3,500 migrants have arrived in the archipelago, the Spanish interior ministry says.

In the Mediterranean Sea, meanwhile, Spanish authorities on Wednesday reported 99 migrants had been rescued at sea, with another 23 arriving in Mallorca under their own steam.

With agencies



More articles

Webpack App