Ten of the 600 migrants who launched a coordinated assault on Spain’s border fence with Morocco in July have been arrested on accusations of belonging to a criminal organization, as well as offenses such as causing criminal damages and attacking an officer of the law. At the time of their arrest the men were in the CETI immigrant holding center in the Spanish exclave city of Ceuta, which is where they managed to get over the border fence and into Spain.
One of the arrested men tried to assault the officers that were trying to detain him
One of the arrested men, thought to be the leader of the most violent group to make it over the border, tried to assault the officers that were trying to detain him shortly after 8am this morning. The detentions have been delayed for a month, according to sources from the Civil Guard, while investigations were carried out to identify which of the migrants had assaulted officers as they crossed into Spain.
The crossing attempt by the mostly Sub-Saharan Africans was one of the biggest ever seen and was executed with an “unusual level of violence,” according to police sources. The migrants cut through the barbed wire at the border using a radial saw, and confronted border police with buckets of quicklime.
Officers were also pelted with acid, blood and feces, a scene that was repeated on August 23, when another group of migrants tried to rush the border. On that occasion a total of 116 managed to get across, leaving seven migrants and seven officers injured. The Spanish government took the unusual decision to immediately deport them back to Morocco, using an agreement that had been signed between the two countries back in the 1990s.
The July incident saw 850 migrants rush the fence, with around 600 making it through and some 150 repelled. A total of 132 migrants required medical treatment, having suffered cuts from the razor wire. Eleven had to be taken to hospital, and two were treated for very deep cuts, according to the Civil Guard.
A total of 22 officers needed treatment for a wide range of injuries, including burns and respiratory problems caused by the use of quicklime. Five officers were taken to hospital for treatment.
The crossing attempt was one of the biggest ever seen and was executed with an “unusual level of violence”
Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska will be appearing in Congress on Wednesday to speak about the problems at the Ceuta border.
Spain has become the main gateway into Europe through the Mediterranean, ahead of Italy and Greece. Shelter services have been unable to keep up with the demand, leaving many migrants to sleep in overcrowded centers, police stations and even on the decks of boats. According to the Interior Ministry, 17,605 undocumented migrants have arrived in Spain by sea since the beginning of the year, and 3,292 more have entered by land through Ceuta and Melilla. An average of 54 people arrived in Spain by sea each day in the first five months of 2018. That average has since shot up to 220 per day.
English version by Simon Hunter.