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05 October 2005

Desperate Africans surge for tiny toehold to Europe

Spain, Morocco, the Spanish enclave of Melilla

Wednesday 5 October 2005

Spain cracks down on migrants storming outposts

By Emma Ross-Thomas

MELILLA, Spain (Reuters) -- Spain said on Wednesday it planned extraordinary measures to deter African migrants from storming the borders of its North African outposts after 500 people tried to burst through.

Spain said it would invoke for the first time a 1992 agreement with Morocco allowing it to send back to Morocco sub-Saharan Africans who had made it over the razor-wire fences into its North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.

Under the agreement, Spain can ask Morocco to readmit the migrants even though they are not Moroccan.

"We are working with Morocco and in the coming days, possibly tomorrow -- exceptionally -- there may be a repatriation of illegal immigrants," Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega told reporters before leaving Madrid for a visit to Ceuta and Melilla.

She was speaking after meeting the leaders of Ceuta and Melilla in Madrid to discuss what to do about a series of mass assaults by migrants on the Spanish outposts, which have Europe's only land borders with Africa.

Many of the migrants are from countries with which Spain does not have a repatriation agreement so they cannot be sent home. Instead they are often taken to mainland Spain and issued with an expulsion order that cannot be enforced.

Some 500 African migrants charged the fences around Melilla early on Wednesday, and many of the 65 who got through were injured, the government said.

Five died last week in a similar attempt at Ceuta. 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 assault on a fence that is between three and six meters (10 to 20 ft) high.

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Blogger dag said...

Like the map. I'm grabbing it for my own use. Thanks for your work.

Blogger Bob Merkin said...

Tack, Dag!

(The only Dag I know was Hammarskjöld, and he was Swedish, so maybe you are, too, so Tack!)

Agence Vleeptron-Presse, the oldest and most prestigious news service in the Dwingeloo-2 Galaxy, takes great pride in and pays great attention to its graphics. We roam the Internet to filch and shoplift the finest visual aids to help our readers best understand the wide range of news we try to bring to this sector of the Universe (the Local Group).

So anyway, who are you, where are you, what are you, what's your favorite color, how did you get suckered into Vleeptron? How's Kroninprinsess Vikkie, how's the Wassa, how's the Baltic, and will Sweden finally honor the voter referendum and stop using nuclear power by 2010? What will the government do to generate the necessary electric power? Do you like Lutefisk?

And who's the lad in your picture?


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