MADRID (AFP) – Around 1,200 migrants tried to storm the border separating Spain’s Melilla enclave from Morocco yesterday, with 380 getting across, a day after the biggest such attempt on record.
The incident occurred a day after an unprecedented 2,500 migrants made a mass run at the border. Almost 500 managed to cross, in what the Spanish government’s local delegation said was “the biggest entry attempt on record”.
Officials said both incidents were characterised by an unusual level of violence and quickly moved to call in security reinforcements to deploy along the border.
“At around 7.25am, after overcoming the Moroccan security forces, they began to jump the fence… throwing stones and using hooks and sticks against the security forces,” a delegation spokesman said.
Sabrina Moh Abdelkader, the government’s representative in Melilla, told reporters “380 migrants managed to enter the city”, raising an earlier figure of 350. Moh also said both mass crossing bids were characterised by more violence than previous attempts.
“The level of aggression we’ve seen in both entries yesterday and today… has not been seen before,” she said.
Twenty officers sustained cuts and bruises or other light injuries yesterday, she said. There was no immediate word on whether any migrants had been injured.
During Wednesday’s border rush, the delegation said some migrants had bolts screwed into their shoes to help them cross, which “being sharp, carries a huge risk” for the police and security forces.
That incident left 27 police and 20 migrants lightly injured, the delegation said, while on the other side of the border, the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) said some 30 migrants had been hurt, three or four seriously.