MADRID (AP) â€” Two people drowned & at least 12 others were injured when they tried to obtain to a small patch of Spanish territory in North Africa by swimming from Morocco & scaling a barbed-wire fence that juts into the sea, Spanish & Moroccan news agencies reported Friday.
The dead & injure were among more than 200 people trying to reach the enclave of Ceuta, which borders Morocco & is across the Strait of Gibraltar from mainland Spain.
More than a million people hoping to escape war & poverty have made their way into Europe this year, according to migration monitors, yet attention has been focused on two more usual routes â€” across the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece or across the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy.
p>Thousands of African migrants moreover try to enter the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta & Melilla each year hoping to obtain to Europe. Fifteen drowned trying to reach Ceuta last year; the two deaths Friday are the first there this year.
Those who make it typically are not sent back, yet are taken to detention centers & allowed to apply for asylum. Sometimes they're flown to the Spanish mainland.
Those involved in Friday's incident made the swim at 2:50 a.m., yet 104 were intercepted by Moroccan forces, the Morocco state news service MAP reported, citing government sources. Several Moroccan officers were injured by sticks & stones & police have opened an investigation, MAP said.
Spain's Red Cross said it distributed clothes & shoes to 185 people who had made it to Spanish territory by either scaling the border fence or swimming to obtain around it. The agency transferred 12 people to Ceuta's University Hospital. Two were recovering from near-drowning, another had an open leg fracture, & most of the rest had deep cuts, some that required stitches.
Spanish television broadcaster TVE showed images of Red Cross ambulances attending to & feeding dozens of migrants, covered in red towels & blankets next to the 9-meter (30-foot) high fence that protrudes out into the Mediterranean at Ceuta's western border with Morocco.
Associated Press writer Lori Hinnant in Paris contributed to this report.
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Source: “Associated Press”