Spain deployed troops to Ceuta to patrol the border with Morocco after as many as 6,000 migrants, including around 1,500 minors, entered the enclave on Monday and Tuesday by swimming in or climbing over the fence.
Spain said approximately 2,700 migrants had already been sent back to Morocco, where they were being accepted under a readmission deal.
The regional leader of Ceuta criticized what he described as Morocco’s passivity in the face of Monday’s surge, and some independent experts said Rabat had initially allowed it as a means of pressuring Madrid over its decision to admit a rebel leader from the Western Sahara to a Spanish hospital.
However, the Spanish government did not make that connection but rather maintained a positive tone towards Morocco, with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez calling the north African nation a friend of Spain and the interior ministry citing co-operation over the readmissions.
Ceuta, with a population of 80,000, is located on the northern tip of Morocco across from Gibraltar. Along with Melilla, it has long been a magnet for African migrants trying to reach Europe in search of a better life.
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