MADRID, Aug 28 — Ten of the more than 600 migrants who forced their way into the Spanish territory of Ceuta last month by storming a heavily fortified border fence with Morocco were arrested today, police said.
The 10 sub-Saharan African migrants, who were arrested at an immigrant holding centre in Ceuta, are accused of belonging to a criminal organisation, assaulting a police officer and causing damages, a spokeswoman for Spain’s Guardia Civil told AFP.
Among those arrested is the suspected leader of the coordinated assault on the border on July 26 in which 15 police officers were injured, she added.
The more than 600 migrants reached Ceuta by storming the double border fence and attacking police with caustic quicklime, excrement, stones and sticks. They even set spray cans on fire, using them as “flame-throwers”, according to police.
The scramble over the barbed wire-decked barrier was the biggest in Ceuta since February 2017, when more than 850 migrants entered the overseas territory over four days.
Last week 116 migrants entered Ceuta in a similar tactic but were promptly sent back to Morocco, prompting criticism from human rights groups.
Ceuta and Melilla, Spain’s other territory in North Africa, have the European Union’s only land borders with Africa, drawing migrants trying to reach the bloc.
A total of 4,382 migrants have entered the two territories by land since the start of the year, according to the International Organization for Migration.
More than 32,000 migrants have arrived in Spain by sea and land this year, making it the main entry point for migrants arriving in Europe, after Italy and Greece. — AFP