Monday. 27.05.2024

At least 18 migrants were reportedly killed when up to 2,000 broke through the border fence between Morocco and the Spanish exclave of Melilla in North Africa on Friday.

The Spanish newspapers El Pais and La Vanguardia reported the update Friday evening citing information from authorities in the nearby Moroccan city of Nador. Earlier reports said five had died.

Another 63 migrants and about 140 Moroccan police officers were injured. The Moroccan Interior Ministry accused the migrants of violence.

133 managed to enter Spanish territory. Two parallel six-metre high fences mark the border. Europa Press earlier reported citing police that migrants had forced open one of the gates.

Video footage published online showed those who made it through, mainly young men, running through the streets of Melilla and singing and dancing with joy. They arrived at an emergency reception centre.

Intensive care

The previous day, 116 Moroccan officers were injured while trying to keep about 500 migrants away from the border, according to Spanish media reports. One police officer had to be treated in the intensive care unit of a hospital.

Morocco became independent from France and Spain in 1956. Nevertheless, Spain still holds two autonomous cities in Norther Africa: Melilla and Ceuta, 250 kilometres further west on the Strait of Gibraltar. Both are claimed by Rabat.

Near the two cities, tens of thousands of people, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, often wait for a chance to enter the EU.

Usually, several hundred people at a time try to surprise the border officials and get across the border en masse.

Reports: 18 immigrants die in storming of Spanish border in Morocco