Around 100 migrants swim to Spain's Ceuta enclave

Ceuta, Spain: According to Spanish police, approximately 100 migrants attempted to swim from neighboring Morocco to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta.

The migrants set off Sunday from beaches in Fnideq, a few kilometers south of Ceuta, and "some" made it to Ceuta on their own, while the majority had to be rescued by Spanish rescue vessels, according to a spokesman for the Guardia Civil police force in Ceuta.

Throughout the day, the migrants, including minors, set out in groups of 20 to 30 people, he said.

"It is not normal, there can be groups of three, four, or five, but not this many," the police spokesman said.

The migrants were examined by Red Cross staff, and three were hospitalized for hypothermia.

The others were brought to a warehouse by police, where they would be quarantined for coronavirus before their asylum requests are processed.

According to police, five more migrants swam to Ceuta from Morocco on Monday.

Ceuta and Melilla, the other Spanish enclave in north Africa, share the European Union's only land boundaries with Africa, making them common entry points for migrants seeking a better life in Europe.

Migrants attempt to enter the enclaves by swimming along the coast or scaling the high border fences that divide them from Morocco.

Every year, thousands of African migrants attempt to join the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in the hope of reaching Europe.

In 2014, fifteen people drowned trying to enter Ceuta; the two people died by drowning in the following year. 

In their attempts to enter the Spanish enclave, the immigrants often fall prey to the barbed fences that remain submerged into the seas. 

According to migration monitors, over a million people (2015 data) seeking to flee war and poverty have entered Europe, but attention has been centered on two more popular routes - across the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece or across the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy.

Many that make it are usually not deported but are sent to detention facilities and given the opportunity to apply for asylum. They are also flown to the Spanish mainland.

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