Wednesday 10/20/21
IMMIGRATION

Morocco puts pressure on Spain by letting thousands of migrants swim out

Moroccan police reportedly did not intervene as at least 2,700 people swam almost 2 kilometres across the border.
17 May 2021, Spain, Ceuta: Spanish civil guard officers try to stop people from Morocco from entering the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. Photo: Antonio Sempere/EUROPA PRESS/dpa
Spanish civil guard officers try to stop people from Morocco from entering the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. Photo: Antonio Sempere/dpa.

Several thousand migrants reached the Spanish exclave of Ceuta in North Africa by swimming along the coastline in the Mediterranean Sea from the Moroccan town of Fnideq, local media reported on Monday.

Authorities in Ceuta, with a population of about 85,000, have been overwhelmed by the influx of people. The land border with Morocco is blocked by a 10-metre-high double metal fence that's hard to scale.

But Moroccan police reportedly did not intervene as at least 2,700 people swam almost 2 kilometres across, Spanish and Moroccan media reported.

The Moroccan government is reportedly annoyed that Spain allowed the entry of Brahim Ghali, secretary general of the Polisario Front movement, which seeks the independence of North Africa's disputed Western Sahara.

Ghali has been treated for coronavirus since April.

17 May 2021, Spain, Ceuta: A north African migrant runs on the beach after managing to swim into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta from Morocco. Photo: Antonio Sempere/EUROPA PRESS/dpaA north African migrant runs on the beach after managing to swim into Ceuta (Spain) from Morocco. Photo: Antonio Sempere/dpa.

Polisario

Morocco took over Western Sahara in 1975 after Spain withdrew from the region and claims the area as part of its territory.

The breakaway Polisario Front seeks the territory's independence.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR says that a total of 416 migrants have been counted in Ceuta since the start of the year.

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