, MADRID, July 23 – About 300 African migrants stormed a border fence surrounding Spain’s North African enclave of Melilla on Tuesday in an attempt to enter Spanish territory, a Spanish government official said.
About 100 of them managed to enter Melilla in the early morning assault on the border, a local Spanish government spokeswoman said.
“It is a preliminary estimate, the assault happened early in the morning when it was still dark,” she said.
Two separate groups of migrants stormed the border fence in two different locations at roughly the same time, she added.
Melilla, home to around 80,000 people, has one of the European Union’s two land borders with Africa, along with the other Spanish enclave of Ceuta to the west.
Spanish authorities have reported a surge in attempts to scale the fence since a crackdown on arrivals via Spain’s Canary Islands and in the wake of violent unrest in northern Africa over recent years.
On March 11, some 25 people were injured as they attempted to pass the fence. A Moroccan human rights group said that one of them, a Cameroonian migrant of 30, died of his injuries in Morocco.
Rights groups say many migrants are camping in the wild on the Moroccan side waiting for a chance to cross.
Medical aid group Doctors Without Borders this year closed its projects in Morocco in protest at the treatment of migrants who are brought there by traffickers and allegedly abused by Spanish and Moroccan police.