Members of the Spanish Civil Guard at the border between Morocco and the enclave of Melilla, March 4, 2022. FADEL SENNA / AFP More than 400 migrants tried to enter the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco on Friday June 24 in the morning, and “a significant number” of them succeeded, the prefecture told AFP, without specifying their number. This massive entry attempt into one of the two Spanish enclaves located on the northern coast of Morocco is the first since the normalization of relations between Madrid and Rabat, which took place in mid-March after nearly a year of diplomatic estrangement. The Spanish police spotted “around 6:40 am a group of migrants formed by more than 400 people” approaching the border, said a spokesman for the prefecture. “Despite the extensive security arrangements of the Moroccan forces, which have actively collaborated and coordinated with the security forces [espagnoles], a large group of people from sub-Saharan African countries, perfectly organized and violent, forced entry and broke the border control access door” before entering Melilla, he said. Read also: In Spain, Moroccans in Europe take back “the road to bled” Madrid and Rabat recently sealed their reconciliation after Madrid’s decision in March to publicly support the Moroccan autonomy plan for the Sahara Occidental, a former Spanish colony controlled 80% by Morocco but claimed by the Sahrawi separatists of the Polisario Front, supported by Algeria. This decision had made it possible to put an end to a diplomatic crisis caused by the reception in Spain of the leader of the Polisario, Brahim Ghali, to be treated there for Covid-19, in April 2021. This crisis had been marked by the entry in May 2021 of more than 10,000 migrants in twenty-four hours in the enclave of Ceuta, thanks to a relaxation of border controls on the Moroccan side. Just before the reconciliation between the two countries, Melilla had been the scene, in early March, of several mass entry attempts, including the largest ever recorded in this enclave with some 2,500 migrants. Nearly 500 had succeeded. Read also: Morocco-Spain: land borders reopen after two years of crisis The normalization of relations between Rabat and Madrid allowed the reopening in May of border posts between northern Morocco and Ceuta and Melilla. These two enclaves constitute the only land borders of the European Union on the African continent and are regularly the subject of entry attempts by migrants seeking to reach Europe. To not miss any African news, subscribe to the World Africa newsletter from this link. Every Saturday at 6 a.m., find a week of news and debates covered by the editorial staff of Le Monde Afrique. The World with AFP
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