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Melilla fence. Photo from Flickr

Hundreds of Africans storm Melilla over the weekend

Over the weekend, hundreds of Africans again attempted to storm the border fence separating the small Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco. One African died during the incident.

Published: October 22, 2018, 11:35 am

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    Masses of migrants decided to climb the fence together in an effort to avoid being apprehended by Spanish law enforcement. The particularly high border fence in parts is topped with razor wire.

    International media reports put the figure that initially stormed the border – made up of three parallel fences – at 300, but it appears that only 200 actually made it into Spain.

    According to UN refugee agency UNHCR’s figures, so far this year some 6000 migrants have made it to Melilla and nearby enclave Ceuta.

    Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs, acknowledged the problem last week at a press conference: “We have seen a 150 percent increase in migration flows on the western Mediterranean route this year, and we have decided to strengthen our actions to curb these flows, especially with Morocco.”

    African migrants often storm the Spanish border in Melilla, but according to Reuters, on Sunday one African migrant died of heart failure and many more were injured, local authorities said. Although he was treated by emergence services, he could not be revived, authorities said.

    A representative of Spain’s government in Melilla said 19 more migrants needed to be treated at hospital for cuts or fractures. Melilla’s fence where Europe shares a land border with Africa, is about 10km surrounding the city situated on the coast. Six Civil Guards were also injured in the assault.

    The 200 migrants that successfully crossed the seven-meter high metal barrier designed to keep them out of the EU, were then taken to a reception center in Melilla.

    Mobs of migrants trying to scale the border have previously resorted to throwing stones, Molotov cocktails, and feces, as well as using flamethrowers to fend off law enforcement officers.

    In July by a group of at least 600 turned violent, and future attempts by Africans to gain entry will likely get more daring and potentially violent, researchers have warned.

    Breitbart reported that in August, Spanish authorities sent back 100 migrants who had entered Ceuta — the second Spanish enclave in Morocco — across the border, sparking an outcry from human rights activists.

    Meanwhile, Spain’s maritime rescue service said 140 migrants were rescued on Sunday from four small vessels intercepted in the Mediterranean Sea.

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