Spain and Morocco evict migrants from Spanish island

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Spain and Morocco evict migrants from Spanish island

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Dozens of illegal migrants have been removed from a small Spanish island off the coast of Morocco in a joint operation by both countries.

The Spanish civil guard said the operation passed off smoothly.

In recent days more than 80 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa had landed on the Isla de Tierra, which is just a short swim from a Moroccan beach.

Most of the migrants have now been taken to Morocco to be deported. About ten women and children were sent to the Spanish enclave of Melilla for medical examinations.

The Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel Garcia Margallo, said earlier this week that the migrants’ arrival on the island had been co-ordinated by “mafia human traffickers”.

Madrid had provided blankets, food and water for the migrants but said there was no question of allowing them to reach the Spanish mainland.

Melilla’s law and order chief, Abdelmalik El Barkani, has said Spain, Morocco and the EU are sending a strong message to human traffickers who “put the lives of pregnant women and young children in danger”.

Security at Melilla and the other Spanish enclave of Ceuta on the African continent has been reinforced because of a surge of migrants seeking to escape poverty and political unrest.