Morocco thwarts fence jumps of between 20 and 80 migrants in Melilla

Spain extends border closure with Ceuta and Melilla until 31 August

REUTERS/JESÚS BLASCO DE AVELLANEDA  -   African migrants sit on top of a border fence during an attempt to cross into Spanish territory, between Morocco and the enclave of Melilla

The border fence between Spain and Morocco in Melilla has suffered several attempted jumps throughout the night by groups of between 20 and 80 migrants, which have been thwarted by Moroccan security forces.

According to the Government Delegation in Melilla, the migratory pressure has been maintained throughout the early hours of Monday morning, which has forced the Guardia Civil to keep the anti-intrusion device deployed along the border perimeter.

AP/BERNAT ARMANGUE - Image of migrants near the border between Spain and Morocco

The Guardia Civil's helicopter has also been involved in this security deployment, which has flown over the fence to detect the movements of the immigrants from the air and prevent them from jumping, with the help of a powerful spotlight.

The pressure on the border occurred during the night with groups of between 20 and 80 people who tried to approach the fence at different points, but were stopped by the Moroccan security forces, who were in constant communication with the Guardia Civil Command.

According to the Government Delegation, there has been no irregular entry of immigrants into Melilla this morning, unlike what happened yesterday in the fifth jump to the fence in the last two weeks, in which some 50 sub-Saharans tried to enter the city and seven succeeded.

REUTERS/JON NAZCA - Migrants run towards the fence separating Morocco from Spain

In the last two weeks, since Monday 12 July, at least 384 immigrants have managed to gain irregular access to Melilla, according to official figures. Likewise, according to the Official State Gazette (BOE), the borders of Ceuta and Melilla will remain closed until 31 August.

The BOE has published an order from the Ministry of the Interior extending the effects of this border closure until 00:00 on 31 August and restricting non-essential travel from third countries to the European Union and associated Schengen countries for reasons of public order and public health due to the health crisis caused by COVID-19.