Hundreds of migrants charged Spain's African border, some broke through wounded

Some 500 African migrants charged the razor-wire border at Melilla Spain's north African enclave on Wednesday, and many of the 65 who got through were injured, the government said.

It was the latest in a string of assaults in recent days at the crossings from Morocco to Melilla and Spain's other enclave Ceuta, the rich European Union's only land border with Africa.

Five died last week in a similar attempt; news reports said all were shot but it is still not clear by whom.

"You're not afraid, because in Africa you have nothing ... you just keep thinking that you are entering Spain," Keta, a 24-year-old Malian who arrived on Wednesday, said. His hands were covered in gashes and his jeans ripped and spotted with blood from where he climbed over the border fence.

A police officer was also slightly injured in the early Wednesday assault on a fence which is between three and six metres (10 to 20 ft) high.

The new arrivals, their limbs and clothes shredded by the wire and some without shoes, raced to the police station before dawn, hoping to avoid being sent back by registering with police.

They were then transferred to a dusty and overcrowded Red Cross centre where some hugged friends who had reached Spain on previous days, reports Reuters.

The Moroccan state news agency, MAP, quoted Morocco's ambassador to the European Union, Menouar Alem, as saying Morocco is doing all it can to slow illegal immigration "despite the absence of European aid." But he said Morocco doesn't have the resources to halt an "incessant flow" of people from sub-Saharan Africa.

MAP said 123 people from sub-Saharan Africa were caught on the Moroccan side of the border Wednesday. It said Moroccan security officers patrolling the 6-mile border had been reinforced and now totaled 1,300, informs Guardian.

Photo: AP P.T.

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