14 June 2014

Morocco: Guards Drive Back African Migrants At Morocco-Spain Border

Up to 1,000 African migrants have tried to storm a border fence separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave Melilla. Their attempt to enter Europe via the North African territory was stopped by border guards.

Security forces drove back the migrants, who tried to storm a three-tier barbed wire border fence that separates Morocco from Melilla, a Spanish territory.

It is the latest in a string of desperate attempts to breach the fence. Hundreds have scrambled across in recent months, but the border was recently fortified with mesh fences and Spanish security forces have increased patrols.

Melilla is one of two Spanish-held cities on the northern coast of Africa, the other being Ceuta to the east. The number of migrants attempting to cross has risen in recent months, many attempting in groups to try and overwhelm border guards.

"Anti-climbing mesh and the collaboration of the Moroccan forces with the (Spanish) civil guard managed to stop an attempt to cross by about a thousand migrants," the Spanish government delegation in Melilla said.

"None of the immigrants managed to reach the city," it added.

According to estimates by the Interior Ministry in Madrid, about 40,000 Africans of sub-Saharan origin are waiting for an opportunity to go to Spain. The immigrant reception center in Melilla is understood to be highly overcrowded.

Crisis situation

There has also been a recent increase in the number of boats trying to reach Europe from North Africa, often originating in Libya, where criminal gangs organizing boat trips have flourished amid the breakdown of law and order in the country.

Most of the migrants come from Eritrea or Syria, with others fleeing impoverished parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

Italian officials said in early June that almost 47,000 people had arrived from North Africa by sea since the beginning of this year, a tenfold increase over the same period in 2013.

Thousands of migrants have died at sea in recent years trying to reach Europe, as they often make the attempt in badly overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels.

Italy and Spain have asked for more help from the EU in securing their borders and dealing with the crisis.

jr/lw (dpa, AP, AFP)

DW.DE

Date 14.06.2014

Related Subjects African Union (AU)

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2014 Deutsche Welle. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.