African migrants are getting a foothold on European soil through southern Spain. Europe’s external border doesn’t stop in southern Spain, but in Africa. And Spain has two territories in northern Africa, with razor fences meant to keep African migrants out. But at Spain’s enclave of Ceuta, the fence didn’t stop 600 Africans
CGTN’s Al Goodman reports from the border.
“Victory, victory!” They shout. Hundreds of sub-Saharan Africans have just reached Spanish and European soil. Achieving their dream, 600 made a coordinated assault at dawn this day, scaling—and even cutting through—the fences at the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on Morocco’s north coast.
They breached one of Europe’s external borders.
The tall, twin fences, topped with razor wire, stretch for 8 kilometers or 5 miles around Ceuta. A deterrent meant to keep the African migrants out.
The wounds from the breach are immediately evident. They are bleeding from their foreheads and their arms from going up and over the razor wire.
But the cuts and the blood seemed to be their badge of honor for getting a foothold in Europe.
Spain’s new Socialist government has vowed to do “everything possible” to remove the controversial razor wire. And the assault hasn’t changed that position, says one senior Spanish official, who rushed to the migrant holding center.
“Eliminating the razor wire, yes,” Juan Hernandez, an aide to Spain’s top Ceuta official, said. “But only after other security measures are in place to stop these kinds of avalanches.”
On the road, the migrants discarded protective clothing they wore against the razor wire: heavy pullovers, sturdy footwear, and gloves.
The migrants used new tactics this time, officials said, like electric saws to cut holes in the fences.
Some even threw quicklime, burning the skin of Spanish Civil Guards. Fifteen guards were injured.
Spanish army troops came to set up tents for the 600 newest Africans because Ceuta’s migrant center was already full.
By far, most of the migrant Africans reaching Spain this year have come in clandestine boats. But the assault in Ceuta tests the limits of fence security—adding more fuel to Europe’s heated debate over immigration. Many of these migrants want to reach France, as soon as possible.