130 migrants breach border between Morocco and Spanish enclave

24 June 2022, 13:24

Spain Morocco Migrants
Spain Morocco Migrants. Picture: PA

People fleeing poverty and violence sometimes make mass attempts to reach Melilla and the other Spanish territory on the North African coast, Ceuta,

Around 130 migrants have breached the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla on Friday in the first such incursion since the countries mended diplomatic relations last month.

A spokesperson for the Spanish government’s office in Melilla said about 2,000 people attempted to enter the city but many were stopped by Spanish Civil Guard police and Moroccan forces on the other side of a border fence.

Those who succeeded in crossing went to a local migrant centre, where authorities were evaluating their circumstances.

Several migrants and police officers were injured.

Spain Morocco Migrants
Riot police officers cordon off the area after migrants arrive on Spanish soil (Javier Bernardo/AP)

People fleeing poverty and violence sometimes make mass attempts to reach Melilla and the other Spanish territory on the North African coast, Ceuta, as a springboard to continental Europe.

Spain normally relies on Morocco to keep migrants away from the border.

Over two days at the beginning of March, more than 3,500 people tried to scale the 20ft barrier that surrounds Melilla and nearly 1,000 made it across, according to Spanish authorities.

Friday’s crossings were the first attempt since relations between Spain and Morocco improved in March after a year-long dispute centred on the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony annexed by Morocco in 1976.

Morocco loosened its controls around Ceuta last year, allowing thousands of migrants to cross into Spain. The move was viewed as retaliation for Spain’s decision to allow the leader of Western Sahara’s pro-independence movement to be treated for Covid-19 at a Spanish hospital.

Tensions between the two countries began to thaw earlier this year after Spain backed Morocco’s plan to grant more autonomy to Western Sahara, where activists are seeking full independence.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Trident test

Russia halts US inspections of its nuclear arsenals

Ahmaud Arbery Hate Crimes

Father and son get life sentences for hate crime over black jogger’s murder

Russia Ukraine War

Russia and Ukraine trade claims over shelling of nuclear power station again

France Heat

France faces worst drought on record as fourth heatwave of the year spreads

Palestinians Israel

Gaza power plant restarts as Israel-Palestinian truce holds

Turkey Russia Ukraine War

Ship carrying grain from Ukraine arrives in Istanbul

Polar Bear Warning Sign

Tourist injured in polar bear attack on Norwegian island

France Whale in Seine

Efforts to feed whale in French river fail again

Solomon Islands Stabbing

US diplomat says Solomon Islands leader ‘missed important opportunity’

King Harald V

Norway’s ageing king discharged from hospital after infection

Israel Palestinians Analysis

Ceasefire between Israel and Gaza militants holds overnight

China Taiwan Military Exercises

China extends military exercises against Taiwan

Woman swimming with nurse sharks in the Bahamas

British boy, eight, savaged by sharks on family holiday 'like a scene out of jaws'

Thailand Pub Fire

Thai pub owner charged in connection with deadly blaze

Virus Outbreak Hong Kong

Hong Kong cuts Covid hotel quarantine for arrivals to three days

Solomon Islands Stabbing

Japanese sailor attacked at Solomon Islands memorial service