Around 400 migrants stormed the 20-foot high barrier between Morroco and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta early Friday morning leading to over a hundred injuries.
The rush of migrants trying to penetrate the Spanish territory is the highest in recent years. The Red Cross has reported that it has led to many of the migrants getting injured in the process including 25 hospitalisations and 103 suffering minor injuries, as well as two police officers being injured, reports El Faro de Ceuta.
According to reports the migrants stormed the border fence in several separate areas using tools and scissors to cut through the fence as others attempted to climb over the massive structure. Authorities say that most of the migrants were men from southern Africa and El Faro de Ceuta posted footage of the men who chanted “Spain!”
The migrant wave is the largest in over a decade and easily overran the Spanish border security and police who could only account for 20 per cent of the migrants by noon Friday. The route through the western part of the Mediterranean has been mostly neglected by migrants in recent years, with most African migrants travelling from Libya to Italy.
Secretary of State for Security José Antonio Nieto has announced that he will be travelling to Ceuta to observe the situation on the ground and coordinate with the officers to get a handle on the situation.
While the migrant rush is the largest single crossing in years, the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla have received 7,888 migrants from January to October of this year according to the European Union (EU) border agency Frontex. Frontex has previously warned that migration from the booming populations of west African countries will make up the bulk of migrants in the coming years to the EU.
In October, around 220 migrants stormed the border at Ceuta and a further 70 in Melilla. As was the case in Friday’s migrant wave, police also required medical attention suffering injuries whilst trying to prevent the hundreds of Africans from crossing the border.
Once they have reached EU territory, the migrants often wait weeks to be transferred to mainland Spain where their applications for asylum are processed.
Despite many migrants attempting to enter Spain via land, there have been cases of migrants trying to make the voyage to the Spanish mainland by sea. Earlier this month authorities rescued 92 migrants in a makeshift boat, the majority of them originating in southern Africa.