MADRID (Reuters) – Nearly 300 people stormed the Spanish enclave of Melilla in Morocco on Sunday, local authorities said, citing a death by cardio-respiratory arrest.
About 200 migrants managed to cross the seven-meter high metal barrier that surrounds Melilla. They were taken to a reception center where their identity had to be verified.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 6,000 migrants have arrived in Melilla and the neighboring Spanish territory of Ceuta since the beginning of the year. In some places, the fences surrounding the enclaves are topped with barbed wire.
On Sunday, wooden hooks and spiked shoes that made it easier for the migrants to climb behind them were still visible, along with a bloody T-shirt.
Immigration routes have changed further since Italy blocked the boarding of rescue vessels at its ports and an EU-Turkey agreement has reduced crossings to Greece via the sea Aegean.
More than 40,000 people have arrived by sea on the Andalusian coast since January, making Spain the first destination for migrants.
The vast majority of those arriving in Spain are men, mainly from Guinea, Mali and Morocco, UNHCR said.
On Saturday, Spain sent back to Morocco 24 migrants who reached the Zaffarines Islands, another Spanish territory off the coast of Morocco, under a bilateral agreement signed in 1992, according to which third-country nationals who entered Spain illegally may be returned within a specified period.
This agreement was very rarely enforced until this summer, when 116 men stormed the closing of Ceuta were pushed back.