According to an official statement from Morocco, five irregular migrants died on Friday in a mass attempt to storm the iron fence surrounding Melilla, a Spanish-administered city in North Africa.
In a statement by Moroccan authorities of the country’s northeastern Nador province, which borders Melilla, the incident took place “as a result of a stampede of migrants and some of them fell from the top of the fence.”
For irregular African migrants headed for Europe, the cities of Melilla and Ceuta on the northern coast of Africa are the two most popular transit points.
140 members of Moroccan forces trying to stop the migrants “sustained injuries of varying severity, including five seriously injured,” while 76 of migrants were also wounded, including 13 severely, the statement noted.
According to the statement, a group of irregular migrants from sub-Saharan Africa on Friday morning tried to storm Melilla by climbing over the iron fence between it and the neighboring Moroccan city of Nador.
All the injured from both sides were transferred to Al-Hassani Hospital in Nador and the University Hospital Center in Oujda to receive treatment.
The Spanish government said that more than 2,000 migrants had tried to force their way over the border fence earlier on Friday.
At least 130 migrants had managed to get in, local authorities in Melilla said.
While Rabat considers the islands and the two cities “occupied”, the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, as well as the Aljaferia Islands and other rocky islets in the Mediterranean Sea, are under the administration of Madrid.