Spanish troops are patrolling the barrier around the enclave of Ceuta on the North African coast.
Around 500 soldiers have been sent by Spain and a futher 1000 by Morocco tosecure both Ceuta and the neighbouring enclave of Melilla. The reinforced military presence is in response to repeated attempts by hundreds of illegal, mainly African immigrants, trying to break into the Spanish owned territory. Once in, they can claim asylum. Gaining entry is not without risk. On Wednesday night, five migrants were shot dead at Ceuta; it is unclear whose police were responsible. The two enclaves are seen by migrating Africans as a way into the European Union. They stream into Morocco and then wait for nightfall to force their way over the fences. This week has seen an unprecedented number trying to cross – over 1,000 tried on Tuesday night at Mililla alone. And at Ceuta 200 people were arrested on Wednesday night during the violent clashes with police. But at the current summit meeting in Seville between Spain and Morocco’sleaders, Spanish Prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero reassured his country that in general 40 percent fewer illegal immigrants were getting into Spain.At a press conference after the talks he said: “ Morocco and Spain have the same interests at heart: to combat the phenomenon of illegal immigration. We are becoming more organised, we are coordinating efforts and cooperating with each other.” The activity around the enclaves has managed to eclipse the other contentious topic between Spain and Morocco, that of the conflict over Western Sahara.