Spain, Morocco rescue 66 illegal migrants at sea

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Spanish and Moroccan emergency services on Saturday rescued 66 African immigrants trying to cross the Strait of Gibraltar in makeshift boats.

A spokesman for maritime emergency services in Tarifa, on the southern tip of Spain told AFP that nine men had been rescued by Spanish authorities and another 57 people by Morocco.

Numerous illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa try and reach Spain on a daily basis in inflatable dinghies or other makeshift boats.

Others make the journey by land, hoping to cross the border into the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in northern Morocco.

Some of these desperate attempts to reach European soil have resulted in violence.

On April 26, nine people were injured when between 150 and 200 migrants stormed the Melilla border fence.

On April 21, six Spanish police officers were injured when they tried to stop 15 migrants armed with sticks and knives from illegally entering Melilla by boat.

On March 11, some 25 people were injured in a storming of the fence. A Moroccan human rights group said that one of them, a Cameroonian man of 30, died of his injuries in Morocco.

Spanish authorities have reported a surge in attempts to scale the fence over recent months while hundreds camp in the wild nearby on the Moroccan side.

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