MADRID — At least 155 migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa successfully entered the Spanish enclave of Ceuta after climbing over fences or walking across a border post separating the territory from Morocco, authorities said Friday.
Seven of the migrants clung to the top of a 6-meter-tall (19.5 feet) fence for over two hours until law enforcement officers brought them down and handed them over to their Moroccan counterparts, said the Spanish central government’s delegation in Ceuta.
A larger group of around 250 attempted the breach simultaneously at a breakwater where the 5-mile-long double fence meets the sea. Most of them were from West Africa’s Guinea.
Morocco’s official news agency MAP quoted local authorities in the northern M’diq Fnideq prefecture as saying that 400 migrants staying in the country illegally had attempted to cross the fences and that 90 of them had been immediately arrested. Nine of them were slightly injured and transferred to a hospital.
A Ceuta delegation spokesman said a dozen Civil Guard officers were treated for slight injuries after being hit with stones and sticks.
Video footage showed the migrants erupting in jubilee and screaming “Boza! Boza!” — meaning “victory” in Western Africa’s Fulani language — as they walked or ran toward a temporary migrant processing center in Ceuta. The migrants typically stay there while they apply for asylum or wait for an opportunity to travel to peninsular Spain.
Friday’s was the first crossing attempt in Ceuta in over a year. In July, over 200 people tried to cross into Melilla, Spain’s other North African enclave, though most of them were stopped by the authorities.
The handling of security on both sides of the border has been criticized by human rights organizations.
Spain’s Socialist government last year pledged to take down the controversial barbed wire and instead raise the fences to 10 meters (32 feet) in height and add more surveillance and technology to stop the breaches. — (AP)