Police were out on the streets in Melilla | Credit: Local police authorities
Police were out on the streets in Melilla | Credit: Local police authorities

A temporary detention center in Melilla is suffering severe overcrowding after 200 sub-Saharan migrants managed to cross the border fence into the Spanish enclave on Saturday.

Security forces and migrants were injured in the violent crossing into the territory, which last year saw a 24 percent increase on undocumented migrants compared with the previous year. 

A Melilla temporary detention center is suffering severe overcrowding after at least 300 people of sub-Saharan origin conducted a mass assault on the border fence of the Spanish enclave in Morocco, leading to over 200 more undocumented migrants entering Spanish territory. 

Five injured during 'storming' of the border. 

Local authorities said that as a result of the assault on the heavily fortified border barrier on Saturday, in an area north of the autonomous city known as Pinos di Rostrogordo, at least 209 migrants managed to cross and five people were injured. 

One of those injured was a member of the Guardia Civil, who sustained serious wounds. Four migrants were injured and have been taken to a local hospital for minor injuries. Initially, Spanish and Moroccan security forces managed to hold the mass assault at bay, but then ''the violence and the huge number of migrants prevented them from containing it'', government delegate Abdelmalik El Barkani was quoted by the media as saying. 

After going through some areas of Melilla yelling "freedom" and "victory," the sub-Saharan migrants were transferred to the Melilla temporary detention center, which is now facing severe overcrowding. 

Largest mass entrance in months, although 2017 saw 24 percent increase in migrant arrivals

Melilla has not seen such a large number of migrants arrivals at one time in many months, though migratory pressures on the border have been constant since the beginning of the year. In conveying his support to security forces, El Balkani underscored that "this type of undocumented migration, using force and in a violent manner through the border not open to regular transit is inadmissible" and underscores "the need for a common immigration policy by the European Union." As of December 17, 2017, when the latest statistics by the Spanish interior ministry were released, some 4,630 migrants had entered Melilla illegally last year, a 24 percent increase from 2016. 

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