Hundreds of African migrants storm Spanish border post

December 25, 2015 3:51 pm
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Members of the Spanish Guardia Civil climb as migrants from Africa sit atop the border fence of Melilla in 2014  © AFP/File
Members of the Spanish Guardia Civil climb as migrants from Africa sit atop the border fence of Melilla in 2014
© AFP/File

, MADRID, Dec 25 – Hundreds of African migrants stormed a barbed wire-topped border fence between Morocco and the Spanish territory of Ceuta and 185 made it across, the Red Cross said.

The incident occurred around 4:00 am (0300 GMT) near Benzu in the north of Ceuta. Some migrants did not take the land route and swam across to the Spanish city located on Africa’s northern coast.

Red Cross volunteers treated 185 migrants who managed to get through for injuries of different degrees, the organisation said in a statement.

Twelve of them needed to be taken to hospital to treat cuts requiring stitches, fractured bones, hypothermia or symptoms of drowning, it added.

Red Cross volunteers also gave clothes and shoes to the migrants.

Along with Melilla to the east, Ceuta is one of two Spanish territories on the northern coast of Morocco that together form the European Union’s only land borders with Africa.

Spain fortified fences in the two territories last year in response to a rise in the number of migrants trying to jump over the barriers from neighbouring Morocco.

Last year after 15 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean after dozens tried to enter Ceuta by swimming from a nearby beach.

Human rights groups and migrants said the Spanish police tried to keep them from crossing into Spanish territory by firing rubber bullets and spraying them with tear gas.

The Spanish government has since said that its guards are now banned from using bullets to repel migrants.

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