Photo: Spanish enclave
Close to 500 sub-Saharan African migrants tried Saturday to break into this Spanish city in North Africa by climbing over the border fence at a point near the local Chinatown.
Police officials told Efe that around 2:00 p.m. close to 500 sub-Saharan migrants made a massive attempt to climb over the fence and were turned back by the Civil Guard and Moroccan authorities.
About 30 sat on the fence for half an hour until they decided to voluntarily climb down and were handed over to Morocco by the Civil Guard.
While those sub-Saharans were being taken into custody by Moroccan authorities, agents deployed there received word of another attempted break-in at another point on the border, some 3 kilometers (2 miles) away.
Several units of the Civil Guard were sent there, backed by agents of the GRS reserve security groups of the armed forces, sent to Melilla as a reinforcement of border security.
Later, around 4:00 p.m., Morocco aborted another attempted break-in by some 200 sub-Saharans who, in this case, did not even reach the fence, according to officials.
The last known entry by migrants over the fence was on May 14 when about 10 managed to get across the triple fence that makes up Melilla’s border barrier.
For months now Melilla has been experiencing extreme migratory pressure that has overwhelmed the Temporary Immigrant Housing Center, or CETI, where more than 1,900 people - almost four times its ideal capacity - are living.