More than 200 migrants scale fence into Spain’s Melilla enclave

The crossings come months after the arrival of Ceuta’s other Spanish enclave amid the Madrid-Rabat dispute.

According to local officials, more than 200 migrants and refugees have entered the North African enclave of Melilla, Spain, over the high fence separating it from Morocco.

In all, more than 300 migrants attempted to cross the six-metre (20-foot) barrier on Thursday morning, officials said in a statement.

The 238 who entered the area were all men.

Three police officers suffered minor injuries while trying to stop them from making the crossing, the statement said.

Those entering Melilla were later taken to a processing center, where they would be required to self-isolate to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.

Migrants and refugees are usually held in such facilities until authorities determine whether they can be returned to their countries or qualify to live in Spain.

popular crossing points

Melilla and Ceuta – a second Spanish enclave on Africa’s Mediterranean coast – are popular crossing points for migrants and refugees seeking a better life in Europe.

The regions have the only land borders of the European Union with Africa.

Both are protected by strong fences with barbed wire, video cameras and watchtowers.

Since mid-May, more than 500 migrants and refugees have crossed the Moroccan border fence to make it to Melilla.

Meanwhile, more than 8,000 people swam or climbed over border fences in Ceuta in May after Moroccan authorities loosened controls for a few days, prompting Spain to deploy troops and additional police.

The crisis came amid a major diplomatic dispute between Spain and Morocco over Madrid’s decision to provide medical aid to a rebel leader from Western Sahara, a disputed territory occupied by Rabat in the 1970s. .

Although Polisario Front leader Brahim Ghali left Spain on June 2, diplomatic relations remain strained.

Official data on migrant flows in Ceuta and Melilla was still being updated after an increase in crossings in May, while the total number of crossings in Spain rose 57.5 percent to 13,483 by the end of June.


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