Hundreds of migrants storm Spain border, 35 get through: government

10th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

Over 600 African migrants charged the border fence separating the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco on Tuesday, with at least 35 managing to climb the dangerously high barrier, including five who were injured, Spain's government said.

They were the latest in a flow of thousands of migrants trying to reach Melilla and the other Spanish north African territory of Ceuta, which together make up Europe's only borders with Africa.

The border assault came just hours after Moroccan authorities said they would dismantle camps set up around the two territories by thousands of African migrants seeking to cross into Spain illegally.

Some 400 African migrants approached the six-metre (20-foot), triple-layer fence around Melilla at around 2 am but were repelled by police, the Spanish government delegation in Melilla said in a statement.

Several hours later another group of around 200 migrants charged the border fence at another spot and 35 managed to enter Melilla.

Five migrants were injured including two who fractured leg bones and needed to be taken to hospital, the statement said.

The Spanish government's delegate in Melilla, Abdelmalik El Barkani, said the assault showed the need to maintain a strong police presence at the border.

"This is not an immigration model which we should accept, for the good of the immigrants," he said in the statement.

Rights groups and the UN refugee agency have accused Spanish forces of violence towards migrants climbing the border fences into Ceuta and Melilla over recent months.

The flow of migrants seeking to enter Europe via Melilla has intensified, with over 65 attempts by groups of Africans to climb the fence in 2014, compared to 38 in 2013, according to the Spanish government.

Some 16,000 migrants tried to storm the Melilla fence last year and nearly 5,000 have made it over. In 2013 some 3,000 migrants managed to cross over the fence.

© 2015 AFP

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