Spain, Morocco square off after 8,000 migrants arrive by sea
May 19, 2021 - Spain has deployed troops to Ceuta to patrol the border with Morocco after around 8,000 migrants jumped fences or swam into the north African enclave, in what Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called a serious crisis for both Spain and Europe.
The sudden influx of migrants took place after Morocco loosened border controls amid a deepening diplomatic spat with Spain over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
Ceuta, with a population of 80,000, is on the northern tip of Morocco across from Gibraltar. Along with another Spanish enclave, Melilla, it has long been a magnet for African migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Morocco has a claim on both, Reuters said.
Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said 200 troops, plus 200 extra police were going to assist Ceuta’s normal 1,100-strong border force, according to a BBC report.