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April 16, 2014

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Migrants storm Spanish border fence in Africa

Updated Monday, Feb. 17, 2014 | 8:34 a.m.

MADRID (AP) — About 200 sub-Saharan migrants stormed a barbed-wire border fence early in the morning Monday along Spain's northwest African enclave of Melilla, with about 50 getting through, Spain's Interior Ministry office in the city said.

Eight of the migrants were injured by the barbed wire topping the fence and were treated in a Moroccan hospital, while 58 were arrested after their failed attempt, the Moroccan state news agency reported.

Those who got into the enclave were seen in video carried by the Spanish daily El Mundo running down the streets of Melilla shouting "Barca, Barca!" — the nickname of the famed Barcelona soccer team — as they headed toward a detention center.

The Spanish city of Melilla lies on the African continent, surrounded by Morocco and the Mediterranean Sea. Migrants hoping to get to Europe camp on the Moroccan side, with several thousand trying each year to enter the city and Spain's other coastal enclave of Ceuta.

At least 14 migrants drowned in Moroccan waters Feb. 6 while trying to enter Ceuta by sea after several hundred tried to storm the enclave's border by land.

It's estimated that up to 25,000 sub-Saharans looking to reach Europe are in Morocco.