Watch. African migrants overwhelm Ceuta border guards; 186 gain access to EU territory
In the early hours of Monday morning, an unknown number of African migrants, estimated to number around 200, stormed the Spanish autonomous enclave of Ceuta. Border guards had been deployed along the fence after a warning was issued that an attempt at a breach could take place, yet were taken by surprise when at 06:00 a large group of migrants managed to swarm the official checkpoint. No official numbers have been made available yet by the Immigration Office, but The Red Cross has reported assisting 186 people following the rush this morning, with four taken to the hospital.
Migrants frequently attempt to storm the borders of Spain’s two enclaves in Northern Africa, Ceuta and Melilla. A week ago, a relatively calm period since February was interrupted by some 73 migrants breaching the border fence, while guards managed to prevent another group of around 300 from following suit. Usually though, attempts to breach the border are made along the high, razor wire fenced separating the territories from Morocco, rather than at the official gate.
Many migrants try to enter the enclaves as a means of reaching other parts of Europe, hoping to be taken to temporary shelters, to be moved to the Spanish mainland later on, as usually happens. The number of migrants trying to reach Europe through Ceuta and Melilla, as well as that attempting to cross into Spain by sea, has risen this year, although the route through Libya to Italy remains more popular. The Red Cross reported last week to have attended to 7.400 migrants crossing into mainland Spain, Ceuta, and Melilla so far this year, up from 3.600 in the same period last year.