An African migrant was killed on Thursday when Moroccan police fired warning shots to stop 80 illegal migrants trying to reach Spain’s North African outpost of Melilla, Moroccan state news agency MAP reported.

The migrants tried to force their way through Morocco’s Iyassenen checkpoint and rush the Melilla border in the early hours of the New Year in the latest violent attempt by migrants to reach Europe, added MAP quoting security officials.

“Security forces fired warning shots to push back the assailants. One of the illegal Sub Saharan African migrants was wounded in this particularly violent assault and died as he was transported to hospital,” it said.

Moroccan police arrested 16 migrants while the others fled to hide at a forest nearby, MAP reported.Sub-Saharan migrants have stepped up their attempts to break into Melilla in the past three months.

In November, around 150 Africans tried to batter down a fence during an assault on the heavily fortified enclave. Spanish border guards fired tear gas and rubber bullets to thwart the attempt.

In October, around 30 others managed to breach the border by overwhelming police.Thousands of migrants are stranded in Morocco and often sleep rough for years in the forests near Melilla in the hope of reaching Europe.



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