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Police repel hundreds of migrants in Melilla

Would-be immigrants sit atop a boarder fence separating Morocco from the north African Spanish enclave of Melilla. Picture: BLASCO AVELLANEDA

Would-be immigrants sit atop a boarder fence separating Morocco from the north African Spanish enclave of Melilla. Picture: BLASCO AVELLANEDA

Published Nov 11, 2014

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Madrid -

More than 300 African migrants tried to scramble over the border fence from Morocco into the Spanish territory of Ceuta on Tuesday, the local authorities said.

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Two groups approached the wall one after the other before dawn but were prevented by the Moroccan police from climbing over, a Spanish government spokesman in the territory told AFP.

Ceuta and another Spanish territory to the east, Melilla, have the European Union's only land borders with Africa.

Spain says the flow of migrants to the seven-metre fence has surged in recent months, with thousands scrambling over.

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The spokesman said on Tuesday that about 2 000 African migrants were waiting near the border on the Moroccan side for a chance to cross to Ceuta.

Rights groups have accused Spanish forces of mistreating migrants and of illegally deporting them back to Morocco.

Spain blames human-traffickers for bringing the desperate migrants to the border in the hope of reaching European soil.

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It has called for more help from EU authorities to cope with the pressure on its borders. - Sapa-AFP

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