Spain boosting North Africa border security

Moskvich, the Soviet-era car is set to make a return Image CC/Alexander Migl

Last week the Spanish government agreed to spend some €2.1 million to boost security at the Ceuta and Melilla borders in an attempt to fight illegal immigration.

 

The Spanish territories are the European Union’s only land borders with Africa, and have seen a surge of illegal border crossings in recent months by African migrants seeking a better life in Europe.

Last month, in two separate incidents, between 800 and 1,000 migrants climbed over Melilla’s six-metre-high (20-foot) triple border fence.

Spain’s government is to install nets that will make it more difficult for migrants attempting to breach the borders.

Following the approval of the measure a government statement said:

“The goal is to reduce, as soon as possible, the assaults of the border and limit the serious and immediate risks that they pose to both migrants and border police.”

As well as storming the land borders, migrants also try to swim or sail to Melilla and Ceuta, which both sit on the Mediterranean opposite mainland Spain.

In 2013 around 4,235 migrants entered Ceuta and Melilla illegally, a 48.5% rise over the number that entered the year before.

Over recent months Spain has urged the EU to provide more money and resources to stop the growing number of African migrants entering Europe.

On February 6 some 15 migrants drowned in Moroccan waters while swimming to Ceuta. They were reportedly fired at by Spanish authorities using rubber bullets.  

 

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