Morocco-Spain: 155 migrants force the border to Sebta

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A group of 155 African migrants managed to enter the Spanish enclave of Sebta in northern Morocco on Friday, crossing the high barbed wire fence, a spokesman for the local prefecture said.

"All are from sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of Guinea Conakry," said the spokesman. They crossed the border fence at dawn, thanks to the fog, according to the spokesman of the prefecture. "Some climbed the fence, others broke one of its doors" to pass. Twelve civil guards attempting to intercept them were "lightly wounded" with stones and sticks, while 16 migrants were treated for injuries and cuts, the report said.

This is the first time in a year that migrants manage to force the high fence topped with sharp barbed wire separating Sebta from Morocco, according to the prefecture. The two Spanish enclaves in Morocco, Ceuta and Melilia, form the only land borders of the European Union with Africa.

Read also: Morocco receives significant support from Spain

Since the beginning of the year, 3,427 migrants have managed to enter by land, 18.1% less than in 2018, according to the latest assessment of the Ministry of the Interior. The prefecture indicated that they would be "returned to Morocco". On the other hand, "we do not know if the 155 will be returned to Morocco, the Ministry of the Interior will decide," said the prefecture of Sebta.

In August 2018, the government of the Socialist Pedro Sanchez had sent back to Morocco 116 African migrants, the day after their entry into force in Sebta. These repressions "Hot", justified by the reactivation of an agreement concluded in 1992 with Morocco, are sharply denounced by NGOs defending the rights of migrants.

In September 2018, the Council of Europe reminded Spain that migrants crossing the fences of Melilia and Sebta should "be protected against refoulement and collective expulsion". In addition, fifteen migrants who were rescued early August off the Libyan Open Arms boat landed Friday in southern Spain, where a military ship brought them back from Italy who refused to accommodate them.

Spain, which had become in 2018 the first gateway to theillegal immigration in Europe, was exceeded this year by Greece, according to the International Organization for Migration. According to the government, 14,591 migrants have arrived illegally by sea in Spain since January, which is 42.5% less than last year.

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