Van smashes into Spain’s Ceuta enclave with 50 migrants inside

Madrid, Nov 18 (AFP/APP): A speeding van carrying 50 migrants smashed through a border barrier between Morocco and Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta on Monday, local police said.

The white van raced toward the border “at full speed” and “smashed” a border gate, a spokesman for Spanish police in Ceuta told AFP.

There were 50 sub-Saharan migrants inside the vehicle, including women and children, he added.
Police detained the driver of the van which had French licence plates.

Footage shot by the local Faro de Ceuta television showed police escorting the migrants to a Red Cross post where they received medical aid. The front of the van was badly dented, the images showed.

Spain’s two North African enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, have the European Union’s only land borders with Africa.

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They have long been magnets for African migrants, who usually climb over their border fences or swim along their coastlines.

Since the start of the year, 5,216 migrants have entered these two cities by land, 12.4 percent less than in 2018, according to the latest interior ministry figures.

Of these, 1,163 arrived in Ceuta.

Once on Spanish territory, they are usually taken to a migrant reception centre where they can ask for asylum.

A total of 27,584 migrants have arrived in Spain either by land or sea so far this year, a 50.7 percent drop over the number of entries in 2018 when Spain for the first time surpassed Italy to become to main entry point for migrants arriving in Europe. Greece is the main entry point this year.

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