• Nearly 450 successfully scaled 6-metre, barbed wire fence to request asylum
• N. Africa migrant detention centre meant to hold 512, currently houses 1,178
Some 700 mainly sub-Saharan African migrants staged a mass assault on the barbed-wire topped, 6-metre-high chain-link fence at Spain’s north African conclave of Ceuta on Friday, with nearly 450 of them successfully making it over onto Spanish soil to request asylum from the political upheaval and violence accompanying armed conflicts in their countries.
Spanish authorities say the migrants staged the mass assault on a section of the double-tiered, 8-kilometer-long fence in the early morning hours of Friday, with 103 of the 438 migrants who made it over the top injured in the process and hospitalized.
The migrants said they had no shelter or food in Morocco and were fearful of deportation by Moroccan authorities or falling victims to gangs who prey on them. Hundreds of the illegal migrants from the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa arrive weekly outside the fences at Spain’s north African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, awaiting a chance to enter the two Spanish territories and request asylum in Europe.
Spain’s CETI immigrant detention centre in Ceuta is designed to hold 512 people awaiting processing on their asylum claims at any given time, but the sudden arrival of the 438 who scaled the fence on Friday bring the current number housed at the centre to 1,178. Amnesty International recently issued a scathing report on conditions at Spain’s CETI immigrant detention centres in North Africa.
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