Camp of Saints news of the day: 1,200 arrive in Sicily, 140 at Melilla

Storming the fence at Melilla

MILAN (AP) — An Italian ship brought nearly 1,200 migrants to the Sicilian port of Augusta as Italian officials sounded the alarm over the rising tide of migrants trying to enter Europe.

Navy Commander Aldo Dolfino told Sky TG24 on Friday that migrants had been evacuated from eight life rafts and one boat, which alone carried some 500 migrants.

Italy’s top security official told Parliament last week that 20,500 migrants had arrived so far this year, a huge increase over the 2,500 in the same period of 2013. Most boats come from Libya carrying migrants from Africa.

Save the Children has noted an increase in the number of minors, many traveling alone.

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A sub-Saharan migrant argued with a Spanish Guardia Civil officer holding a baton, as they sit on top of a metallic fence that divides Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla on Thursday

MADRID – More than a hundred people stormed the fence between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla on Thursday, officials said, in the latest attempt by migrants to breach the border.

The early-morning surge of 500 people “ended with 140 immigrants of sub-Saharan origin entering national territory”, according to a statement from Spanish officials in the city.

Some who did not make it to Spanish soil were caught in the border zone, where they stayed for a number of hours shouting “Freedom!”, before being arrested by Moroccan police, local media said.

Six migrants and three police officers were injured, according to the statement, with some of those trying to jump the fence setting fire to their clothing “to throw at the agents”.

Another group of around 200 people made a further attempt to cross the border a few hours later but they were stopped by border guards.

Moroccan authorities said 750 illegal immigrants had tried to make the crossing in two groups.

They ignored warnings and hurled stones at Moroccan security forces, slightly wounding two of them, authorities in the northern province of Nador said, quoted by Morocco’s MAP news agency.

They said a total of 669 people were arrested and 20 others taken to hospital in Nador with injuries from the barbed wire fence.