Five migrant were killed and dozens were injured when a huge crowd tried to cross from Morocco into Spain’s Melilla enclave on Friday, the latest migrant tragedy at the doors of Europe.
Some 2,000 migrants made approached Melilla at dawn over 500 managed to enter a border control area after cutting a fence with shears, the Spanish government’s local delegation said in a statement.
Of these 130 sub-Saharan African migrants, “all of them men and apparently adults”, managed to enter Melilla, it added.
A Moroccan official from the nearby border town of Nador said “five deaths were recorded after they stormed the border and some fell from the top of the barrier” separating the two sides.
He said 140 security personnel and 76 migrants were injured during the attempt to cross, the first such mass incursion since Spain and Morocco mended diplomatic relations last month.
The Spanish government’s local delegation said only that 49 Spanish police officers were lightly injured while 57 migrants suffered injuries of varying degrees, including three who were hospitalized.
Morocco had deployed a “large” number of forces to try to repel the assault on the border, who “cooperated actively” with Spain’s security forces, it said earlier in a statement.
Images on Spanish media showed exhausted migrants laying on the sidewalk in Melilla, some with bloodied hands and torn clothes.
Speaking in Brussels, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez condemned the “violent assault” which he blamed on “mafias who traffic in human beings”.