Melilla and its sister city Ceuta have become infamous for the fortified fences that separate them from Morocco, which migrants routinely try to climb over. AFP / Antonio RUIZ
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It is midnight and 9-year-old Wahib hides near the port of Melilla, a tiny Spanish territory on Morocco's Mediterranean coast.Wahib is one of 50 to 100 foreign minors, mainly from Morocco, who sleep on the streets of Melilla after sneaking into the Spanish city with hopes of getting onto a boat, according to a recent report by Madrid's Comillas Pontifical University.There are no estimates of how many youngsters make it illegally from Melilla into mainland Europe.The "risky" caused at least four deaths in 2015 and 2016 in Melilla, according to local media, including two Moroccan minors who drowned as they tried to approach a boat.Originally from the Moroccan city of Fez, he arrived in Melilla, an 80,000-strong city, in January.But he spent just "four days" at a reception center for minors before he escaped.The number of unaccompanied foreign minors arriving in the city has soared over the past two years, overcrowding the centers, says Daniel Ventura, a government official in charge of social protection.The centers house close to 500 minors whom they are tasked to feed, clothe and educate.
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