EU Demands Answers After Spanish Border Guards Fired on Migrants Swimming for Ceuta

SPANISH border guards have admitted firing rubber bullets at migrants trying to swim to Ceuta from Morocco in north Africa.

A placard, reading ‘Ceuta: shame of Europe’, during a protest against Spain [REUTERS]

It is believed 13 migrants drowned attempting to swim to the Spanish-enclave earlier this month, but was only confirmed on Thursday by Spanish minister interior Jorge Fernandez Diaz that bullets had been fired.

Those who drowned were part of a larger group of some 200 migrants who attempted to enter Ceuta on February 6 from Moroccan territory.

The commission will be requesting explanations from the Spanish authorities on these events as they continue to unfold”.

– EU home affairs spokesperson Michele Cercone

Some tried to climb the fortified frontier fence while others jumped into the sea to swim around a man-made breakwater separating Moroccan and Spanish waters
The Spanish opposition has called for National Police director Arsenio Fernandez de Mesa to step down over the incident.

In an email, EU home affairs spokesperson Michele Cercone said: “The commission will be requesting explanations from the Spanish authorities on these events as they continue to unfold.”

He pointed out that commission, as a guardian of the EU treaties, reserves the right to take appropriate steps where there is evidence that a member state has violated EU law.

Members of the Spanish Guardia Civil recover the body of an illegal immigrant of the Ceuta coast [EPA]

The 13th body was only discovered today, 11 days after the incident.

The bodies of eight men and one woman had already been recovered from Moroccan waters, and three by Spanish authorities.

“The discovery of this body, as with the other three found, could be related to the events of last week,” the Spanish government said today.

The Spanish territories of Melilla and Ceuta, both along Morocco’s Mediterranean coastline, are magnets for sub-Saharan Africans and others, including Syrian refugees, trying to reach Europe.

Hundreds of hopeful immigrants camp out in areas just outside both cities and frequently make mass attempts to climb the triple fences lined with razor wire or to swim along the coast.

Every year a few thousand immigrants make it into the enclaves.

He pointed out that commission, as a guardian of the EU treaties, reserves the right to take appropriate steps where there is evidence that a member state has violated EU law.

– Express