At least 2,700 irregular immigrants, including 1,000 minors, arrived Monday (17) in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, Africa, from neighboring Morocco, according to the Spanish government. It was a record for a single day.
Travelers arrived at sea by swimming, in floats or inflatable boats, and even on foot, when the tide permitted. Others tried to cross the land border, protected by a double fence.
Since Monday morning, they have reached this Spanish territory in North Africa from the Moroccan beaches a few kilometers to the south, a spokesperson for the Ceuta government delegation told AFP. According to him, none of the migrants needed hospitalization because they are in good health.
Asked about the accommodation of these people, the spokesperson said they would stay in sheds on Tarajal beach, but that the authorities would analyze other options, given the large number of immigrants.
Shortly after 8 p.m. (3 p.m. GMT), arrivals appear to have slowed down, the spokesperson said, although the flow did not stop during the day.
As of May 15, 475 migrants have arrived in Ceuta in 2021, more than double the number during the same period in 2020, according to data from the Spanish Interior Ministry.
The arrival of migrants in the enclave occurs in a context of tension between Spain and Morocco, due to the presence in Spain of the leader of the independence movement in Western Sahara.
The Moroccan government has reacted with indignation to the news that the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, has been hospitalized since mid-April in a Spanish hospital for treatment for Covid-19.
The Polisario Front, supported by Algeria, has fought for decades for the independence of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony controlled mainly by Morocco, which wants to keep the region under its command.
Ceuta and Melilla, the other Spanish enclave in North Africa, are the European Union’s only land borders with Africa, making them two important entry points for irregular migrants looking for a better life.