The Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, separated from Spain by the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea | Source: InfoMigrants
The Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, separated from Spain by the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea | Source: InfoMigrants

Spanish authorities say around 100 migrants have reached the Spanish enclave of Ceuta by swimming from neighboring Morocco. They were detained upon arrival.

Around 100 migrants set off from beaches south of the Spanish territory of Ceuta on Monday, Spanish authorities said. Among them were children and some women.

Some used inflatable swimming rings while others used rubber dinghies, a government spokesperson said. "It was low tide and in some places, you could practically walk across."

According to the AP news agency, a spokesman with Spain's government delegation in Ceuta said groups of Moroccans reached the city by swimming around the breakwater in the border area known as Benzu. They were followed by "a few dozen people" near the eastern beach of Tarajal.

Other reports put the number of arrivals at fewer than 100.

The migrants were checked by Red Cross medical staff before being taken to a reception center, the AFP news agency reported.

Future: unclear

Spanish authorities said they were in touch with their Moroccan counterparts but it was too early to confirm whether the Moroccans would be deported, according to AP.

Last month, around 100 migrants swam to Ceuta in groups of 20 to 30. Most were deported back to Morocco after they were confirmed as adults. Spain does not grant Moroccans asylum status, but it allows unaccompanied migrant children to remain in the country under the supervision of the government.

The Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla have the European Union's only land borders with Africa, making them popular entry points for migrants hoping to reach Europe. Migrants try to reach the enclaves either by swimming along the coast or climbing the tall border fences that separate them from Morocco.

With AP, AFP

 

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