Hundreds of African Migrants Storm Spain’s Border, Guards Face Knives and ‘Unusual Violence’

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Ceuta and Melilla, are Spanish territories in North Africa, the EU’s only land borders with Africa, allowing passage from Morocco. An estimated 400 migrants charged the border in the early hours of May 6th, with only six making it across to claim asylum. A city official reported that guards were having to contend with young, physically fit migrants using “hand-made knives” and willing to deploy “unusual violence” to achieve their aim.

Hundreds of African migrants have attempted to storm border fences separating European Union territory from Africa in the Spanish exclave of Ceuta, resulting in several injuries.

The perimeter of the small city on the coast of North Africa, along with its nearby sister city of Melilla, shares the only land border of a European Union member-state with an African nation — namely Morocco — and illegal migrants have long seen it as a shortcut into the wider EU which bypasses the Mediterranean, or more circuitous routes via the Black Sea and Russia.

The Europa Press reports that some 400 migrants charged the city in the early hours of May 6th, with 150 making it past Moroccan security forces to attack its outer fences.

The Spanish authorities told the news outlet that mobile units of the Civil Guard were deployed and a majority of the would-be intruders “repelled”, with just six managing to make it onto EU soil, three of whom were immediately transferred to the local University Hospital to be treated for injuries sustained on the fences.

EU law does not allow member-states to simply detain such migrants and deposit them back on the other side of the border; they must be allowed to lodge an asylum claim, and are typically allowed to roam freely while these are processed.

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