Around 60 African migrants risked life and limb to scale the fence separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave of Melilla as dawn broke on Wednesday.
But their joy was short-lived. They sought refuge in local houses, and it wasn’t long before Spanish police tracked down 20 of them.
Spanish media report a total of 450 migrants had attempted to cross the fence, leading to clashes with border guards. Spain reported six officers were injured.
Melilla and Ceuta are the EU’s only land borders with Africa and thousands of migrants attempt the dangerous journey every year.
In 2013, Spain reinforced its 12 kilometre long fence with barbed wire to ward off migrants which drew criticism from human rights groups.
Those who crossed overnight received medical attention for the injuries sustained scaling the barrier.
They face an uncertain future. Those who escaped capture may attempt a treacherous boat journey to the mainland. The detainees may be sent back to their respective countries or could file for asylum. For now they are left in limbo.