Migrants rush to Morocco border with Spanish enclave

5. Morocco
The Ceuta-Morocco border fence, as seen from the Ceuta side, on March 28, 2017. Hundreds of migrants tried to enter the Spanish enclave on Wednesday. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
RABAT— Hundreds of migrants tried to enter the Spanish enclave of Ceuta following social media rumors that border controls were being relaxed, a rights group said Wednesday.اضافة اعلان

Police are investigating Tuesday night’s incident, the official MAP news agency said, citing a statement from the DGSN security agency.

“Hundreds of Moroccan migrants, mostly minors, tried to cross into Ceuta on Tuesday evening before being pushed back by security forces before even reaching the border,” said Mohamed Benaissa of the Northern Observatory for Human Rights (ONDH).

The incident sparked clashes but the migrants were dispersed and calm had returned by Wednesday morning, Benaissa said.

The DGSN statement said people attempting to “immigrate illegally” had “thrown rocks at police forces, ... causing material damage to two private vehicles”.

It said five people had been taken into custody, while an inquiry had been opened to find those responsible for spreading “fake news” and inciting illegal border crossings.

Spain’s tiny enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla have the European Union’s only land borders with Africa.

In mid-May, some 10,000 migrants rushed into Ceuta as Moroccan border forces looked the other way.

The incident occurred after Madrid hosted and gave medical treatment to the head of the Western Sahara independence movement, seen by Rabat as a war criminal.

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