Morocco to deport Melilla migrants


Morocco will deport 141 migrants arrested as they tried to storm a border fence at the Spanish enclave Melilla.

a migrant died after falling off the seven metre high metal barrier on Sunday, while 22 others and 12 security personnel were injured, the interior ministry said.

Around 200 people got into Melilla and were taken to a reception centre, Spanish authorities said. The remainder would be returned to their home countries, Morocco said, without giving details of the nationalities.

Morocco, which other Africans can visit without visas, is a major gateway for migrants into Europe since Italy’s tougher line and EU aid to the Libyan coast guard curbed the number of people coming from Libya.

More than 6,000 migrants made it to Melilla and Spain’s nearby territory Ceuta so far this year, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

Others pay smugglers to get them across the 14 km of sea to Spain.

The majority of arrivals in Spain are men, primarily from Guinea, Mali and Morocco, the UNHCR said.

In July, 800 migrants stormed the Ceuta fence triggering a crackdown by Moroccan authorities which bussed migrants to the south of the country away from the border with Spain.

Under a bilateral agreement, Spain returned 24 migrants to Morocco on Saturday who reached the Chafarinas Islands, another Spanish territory off the North African coast – and another 116 migrants who managed to jump the Ceuta border fence in August.