The incident was the biggest attempt at mass border crossing since August of last year.
Agadir – Approximately 150 irregular migrants tried to make their way over the high fence separating the enclave of Melilla from Morocco, on Tuesday, January 19. Spanish authorities reported that 87 succeeded in crossing the border.
The breach happened at 7:30 a.m. and according to the Civil Guard, one of the migrants was taken to the hospital for injuries that were caused by falling.
The incident was the biggest attempted border crossing since August 20, 2020, when approximately 300 people tried to make their way across the border, with only 30 succeeding, and one dying. Prior to that, on July 19 of last year, 200 migrants attempted the crossing, with only 50 who succeeded
Melilla and Ceuta are the only land borders that the European Union shares with Africa, and many irregular migrants see them as potential entry points into the EU.
Borders between Morocco and the two enclaves have been closed since March, but this has not stopped people from trying to get through.
In fact, since the beginning of the year, 60 irregular migrants have successfully crossed the border to Melilla, while 70 others have managed to enter Ceuta, according to figures from the Spanish interior ministry.
Curbing irregular migration is a strong point of Moroccan and Spanish cooperation. A recent report established that 2020 saw a nearly 30% decrease in irregular migration across the Western Mediterranean.
A year earlier, Morocco helped Spain reduce the number of irregular migrants by more than half during the January-October period, according to Spanish outlet El Pais.