Influx of migrants head to Spain’s Ceuta, thousands breach border

By Fatima Zohra Bouaziz

Fnideq, Morocco, May 18 (EFE).- For the past two days, thousands of people predominantly from Morocco but also small groups from Sub-Saharan Africa and other Arab countries including Yemen have been making their way towards the city of Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in North Africa.

From elderly men and women to unaccompanied minors, many migrants are carrying only a plastic bag with spare clothes, a snack and a drink.

At least 6,000 managed to enter the Spanish territory, authorities said Tuesday, after Moroccan police enforcing the border turned a blind eye, allowing thousands to cross the border illegally.

The migrants had taken the main road towards the Tarajal border point, but after failing to reach the customs office, drilled holes in the first metal fence separating Fnideq from Ceuta. A mother held her baby tightly to her chest as she slipped under.

From there, they swam or waded to the next breakwater where they forced the fence open to try and enter Ceuta.

Spanish Civil Guards fired tear gas to disperse the migrants to try and stop them from crossing the border. Some migrants threw stones toward the Spanish agents, others were forced to turn back with wounds on their hands and feet from the tear gas grenades.

Malika, a mother of two, came to the border to watch over her son, who was one of those attempting to cross the border.

She knows others who are also trying to leave Morocco.

“My friend is determined to cross the border because she is unemployed and believes there are opportunities in Spain,” Malika told Efe.

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