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‘Serious crisis for Spain & Europe’: PM Sanchez vows to ‘restore order’ in Ceuta as African enclave faces massive migrant influx

‘Serious crisis for Spain & Europe’: PM Sanchez vows to ‘restore order’ in Ceuta as African enclave faces massive migrant influx
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has pledged to secure the country’s borders and visit the North-African enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta after the latter saw over 6,000 migrants cross the border illegally in a single day.

The PM called the abrupt influx of migrants a “serious crisis” on both Spanish and European levels, as he delivered a televised address on the Ceuta situation on Tuesday.

“The priority is to guarantee border control on the border with Morocco and provide Ceuta and Melilla with the necessary means to solve the crisis,” Sanchez stated.

This sudden arrival of irregular migrants represents a serious crisis for Spain and Europe. I want to assure Spaniards and those who live in Ceuta and Melilla that we are going to restore order in the city and on its borders with maximum speed.

Sanchez also pledged to visit both enclaves, located some 300 kilometers apart on the Moroccan coast, later in the day, in order to “show the determination with which the government of Spain is acting.” 

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The enclave of Ceuta saw an unexpected influx of migrants on Monday, with more than 6,000 people crossing into the Spanish territory in an apparently coordinated attempt. The migrants, some 1,500 of whom turned out to be minors, flocked into Ceuta from both north and south, bypassing its border fences through sea approaches, as they walked through low tide, used inflatable dinghies and even swam to get into Europe.

At least one person died during the mass border breach, according to Spanish authorities.

The PM vowed to expel all who illegally entered the country’s territory during the unusually large border breach. Some 1,500 people from Monday’s breach had been already sent back to Morocco, Spain’s Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said earlier in the day. Additional police and border guard forces have been deployed to the enclave to tighten up security.

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For years, both Ceuta and Melilla have been particular hotspots for migrants seeking to flee Africa and enter Europe. The illegal migrants frequently try to get in by scaling the border fence and trying to catch a ride via passing traffic, or attempting to reach Spanish soil by sea.

The enclave of Melilla saw a minor border breach as well, Spanish media reported on Tuesday, with some 85 people climbing over its border fence.

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