Migrants try again to enter Spain's African territory

Members of the Spanish Guardia Civil look on as two members of the Moroccan Auxiliary Forces hit would be immigrants from Africa with sticks, on Spain's North African enclave of Melilla August 14, 2014. (AFP Photo/Jose Colon)

MADRID: Hundreds of African migrants tried Thursday to leap a triple-layer border fence around Spain's north African territory of Melilla but only one person made it through, the Spanish government said.

About 250 people attempted to cross the six-meter high fence between Morocco and the Spanish city of Melilla in the early morning, the Spanish government representative in Melilla said in a statement.

"Among them, only one managed to cross the border and 15 others remained perched on one of the fences for nearly an hour and a half until Morocco finally took charge of them," it said, highlighting cooperation between Spanish police and Moroccan security forces.

About a dozen Spanish police in anti-riot helmets climbed the border fence to try to get the immigrants down, AFP photographs showed.

On the previous two days, some 1,300 people tried to storm the land border, including by using makeshift ladders to overcome the fence's recently installed "anti-climb" technology, and about 80 people managed to get across.

Immigrants from all over Africa frequently try to enter Melilla, which is on the Mediterranean Sea, either in search of refuge from war or oppression, or in the hope of obtaining a better life in Europe.

Spain has beefed up border security in Melilla and Ceuta, two Spanish territories in northern Africa which share a border with Morocco and are the European Union's only land borders with Africa.

Spain and Italy say they rescued more than 2,300 people Tuesday and Wednesday as they battled to cope with a surge in migrants trying to make the dangerous sea trip to southern Europe from northern Africa in flimsy dinghies.





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