A vehicle carrying dozens of migrants smashed into a barrier at the border between Morocco and Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta on Monday, officials said.
The white van raced toward the border “at full speed” and “smashed” a border gate, a spokesman for Spanish police in Ceuta told news agency AFP.
The incident occurred around 3:00 a.m. (0300 UTC/GMT), with the van breaking through a thick metal gate on the Spanish side of the border.
The vehicle was carrying at least 50 migrants from sub-Saharan countries, including 16 women and two minors.
Four of the people on board were taken to a hospital in Ceuta after suffering minor injuries in the crash.
The driver was a Moroccan citizen and was detained by police, a spokesman for the Spanish Interior Ministry’s office in Ceuta told The Associated Press.
Largest attempt so far, says official
It is not the first time human smugglers have tried to ram into the border to reach Spanish territory, but Monday’s incident involved the largest number of migrants so far, the ministry spokesman said.
Spain’s two North African enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, have long been magnets for asylum-seekers from African countries — many of whom attempt to climb tall border fences or try to swim along their coastlines.
Over 5,200 migrants have entered Ceuta and Melilla by land since the start of this year — which is 12.4% less than in 2018, according to interior ministry figures.
The number of migrants entering Spain by either land or sea has dropped significantly compared to last year, when Spain surpassed Italy for the first time as the main entry point for asylum-seekers trying to reach Europe.
rs/aw (AP, AFP)
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