Spain: 18 migrants die in a storm on a border fence – foreign policy

Migrants are constantly trying to attack the border fence between Morocco and the Spanish North African exclave of Melilla. Many were dead and wounded now.

At least 18 migrants died when up to 2,000 people rushed to the border fence. The Spanish newspapers “El País” and “La Vanguardia” reported about it. Five deaths have been reported previously.

According to the Moroccan Interior Ministry, people were dying in a crowd or falling in front of a fence.

In addition, another 63 migrants and about 140 Moroccan police officers were injured. The Moroccan Ministry of the Interior accused migrants of using violence.

Many people arrested by the Moroccan authorities are said to be of Sudanese nationality. They came from the surrounding forests, where they had been gathering for the last few days to try to reach a Spanish city in North Africa together.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez spoke of a “well-organized, violent” attack and accused the “smuggling mafia.”

Two men climbing a border fenceFoto: Antonio Ruiz/dpa

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Two men climbing a border fencePhoto: Antonio Ruiz / dpa

133 migrants managed to get through two parallel six-meter-high fences. Internet videos showed mostly young men running through the streets of Melilla, beaming with joy, singing and dancing. They were taken to an emergency center.

Morocco gained independence from France and Spain in 1956. However, Spain still holds two exclaves there: Melilla and Ceuta, 250 kilometers further west in the Strait of Gibraltar. Both claim Rabat.

In the vicinity of both areas, tens of thousands of Africans, mainly from sub-Saharan countries, are often waiting for a chance to join the EU. Usually, several hundred people try to surprise border officials and cross the border.