RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Eighteen Africans in search of to cross into Spain had been killed and scores of migrants and police had been injured in what Moroccan authorities referred to as a “stampede” of individuals surging throughout Morocco’s border fence with the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla on Friday.
A complete of 133 migrants breached the border between the Moroccan metropolis of Nador and Melilla on Friday, the primary such mass crossing since Spain and Morocco mended diplomatic relations final month. A spokesperson for the Spanish authorities’s workplace in Melilla mentioned about 2,000 folks tried to cross, however many had been stopped by Spanish Civil Guard police and Moroccan forces on both facet of the border fence.
Morocco’s Inside Ministry mentioned in a press release that the casualties occurred when folks tried to climb the iron fence. It mentioned 5 migrants had been killed and 76 injured, and 140 Moroccan safety officers had been injured.
13 of the injured migrants later died within the hospital, elevating the dying toll to 18, based on Morocco’s official information company MAP., which cited native authorities. The Moroccan Human Rights Affiliation reported 27 useless however the determine might instantly be confirmed.
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Spanish officers mentioned 49 Civil Guards sustained minor accidents. 4 police autos had been broken by rocks thrown by some migrants.
Those that succeeded in crossing went to an area migrant middle, the place authorities had been evaluating their circumstances.
Folks fleeing poverty and violence generally make mass makes an attempt to succeed in Melilla and the opposite Spanish territory on the North African coast, Ceuta, as a springboard to continental Europe.
Spain usually depends on Morocco to maintain migrants away from the border.
Over two days originally of March, greater than 3,500 folks tried to scale the six-meter (20-foot) barrier that surrounds Melilla and almost 1,000 made it throughout, based on Spanish authorities.
Friday’s crossings had been the primary try since relations between Spain and Morocco improved in March after a year-long dispute centered on the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony annexed by Morocco in 1976.
Morocco loosened its controls round Ceuta final yr, permitting hundreds of migrants to cross into Spain. The transfer was considered as retaliation for Spain’s choice to permit the chief of Western Sahara’s pro-independence motion to be handled for COVID-19 at a Spanish hospital.
Tensions between the 2 international locations started to thaw earlier this yr after Spain backed Morocco’s plan to grant extra autonomy to Western Sahara, the place activists are in search of full independence.
Ciarán Giles reported from Madrid.
Observe AP’s protection of migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration
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