Record Number of Migrants Reach Spanish Enclave in One Day

A record number of around 3,000 migrants from Morocco have reached Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta on May 17, according to Spanish officials.

A spokesperson from the Spanish government’s delegation in the enclave said that the migrants, including about 1,000 minors, swam around the border fences or walked across the low tide.

Some of the migrants also may had used inflatable rings or rubber dinghies to reach the enclave, the spokesperson also told AFP News.

The spokesperson said that none of the migrants have been hospitalized as “they are doing well.”

Authorities brought the migrants to a migrant reception after being checked by the Red Cross.

Spanish media reported that at least one drowned while trying to reach the enclave.

Spanish media also reported that Moroccan border officials did not stop the migrants from crossing.

The Interior Ministry of Spain said in a statement that it would increase the security presence in Ceuta with an additional 50 Guardia Civil agents and 150 national police.

The ministry also stated that Spain had recently agreed to return to Morocco anyone who would reach Ceuta by water.

According to Spain’s Interior Ministry, 475 migrants had entered Ceuta between Jan. 1 and May 15 this year.

The recent wave of migrant arrivals come amid tensions between Spain and Morocco over Spain’s decision to provide treatment to Polisario Front leader Brahim Ghali, who has been fighting for the independence of Western Sahara from Morocco.

Ghali has been receiving treatment for COVID-19 in northern Spain since April.

The Foreign Ministry of Morocco said that Spain’s move to treat Ghali was “inconsistent with the spirit of partnership and good neighborliness,” warning that there would be “consequences.”

Spain justified its decision to treat Ghali on the grounds of “strictly humanitarian reasons.”


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