MADRID (AP) — Authorities in Melilla said on Monday that 119 African men have entered the autonomous city from a group of over 200 who tried to jump over the double fence that separates the Spanish enclave in northern Africa from Morocco.
At least five Civil Guard officers and one of the migrants were injured during the crossing attempt in the early hours of Monday, a spokesman with the Spanish government’s delegation in Melilla said.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to be named in media reports, said the rest of the migrants were stopped by guards on the Moroccan side of the border.
He said that the migrants are all men from Sub-Saharan African countries. Those who managed to get into Melilla are being tested for the coronavirus at the local migrant processing center and will be quarantined, the official said.
Melilla and nearby Ceuta, Spain’s other autonomous city on the northern African coast, are seen as springboards into Europe for many Africans fleeing poverty or violence.
Thousands, including hundreds of unaccompanied children, arrived in Ceuta in mid-May amid a diplomatic row between Spain and Morocco over the future of Western Sahara, a territory annexed by Rabat in the 1970s.