Rabat – The issue of unaccompanied minors seems to be an endless predicament for the authorities of the Spanish enclave of Melilla. According to the local government’s estimates, around 3,000 minors live in nearby localities, waiting for an opportunity to access the city.
According to the Spanish news agency Europa Press, these minors’ goal is to land in the Iberian Peninsula by crossing through Melilla.
Daniel Ventura, the councilor of social welfare in Melilla’s local government told the news outlet that Morocco is obliged to keep its commitments on immigration by recovering “its minors” and handing them back to their parents.
“The number of unaccompanied minors who arrived in Spain via Melilla quadrupled in some autonomous communities such as the Basque Country and Catalonia,” Ventura told Europa Press.
The number of minors hosted in the Purísima Reception Center has exceeded 1,500 in 2017, an estimated increase of 300 to 400 children compared to 2016, reports the news outlet.
According to Europa Press, some minors prefer to live on the streets and sleep near the busy port of Melilla, waiting for a chance to cross to the other side.
The other issue that concerns both the Moroccan and Spanish authorities is the chaotic situation on transit sites between Morocco and Ceuta.
However, the figures on migratory pressure relayed by the media confirm that the number of people who crossed to Ceuta illegally decreased by 14 percent in 2017 compared to 2016.
In 2017, 2,252 migrants forced their way into the Spanish enclave, while 2,000 of them were able to cross to Europe. In terms of nationality, 1,605 are sub-Saharan migrants, 512 are Algerians and 126 are from other nationalities.
According to the source, February and August saw the largest influxes into the city.
On February 17, 2017, 500 migrants had forced the fence separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. During this attempt, 11 Civil Guards and 25 migrants were injured. Three days later, another attempt was made. This time, 300 migrants were able to access the city.
At the beginning of August 2017, 260 migrants were able to do the same.
During the Christmas and New Year holidays, many sub-Saharan migrants tried to force Ceuta’s wire fence, but to no avail; the Moroccan authorities aborted each of these attempts.