Melilla border fence

Melilla Border Fence

Melilla border fence

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The Melilla border fence is a separation barrier between Morocco and the Spanish city of Melilla. Constructed by Spain, its stated purpose is to stop illegal immigration and smuggling.

Recent history

In September 2005 some thousands of sub-Saharan migrant tried to climb over the fences in several waves moving upon Melilla. About 700 made it past the fences while six died in clashes with Moroccan security forces.

Before the third fence came to be implemented following this and similar incidents, the mountainous buffer zone between Spanish and Moroccan border patrol positions that lies next to the fence registered a hectic activity with sub-Saharan people provisionally camped there while preparing massive assaults on the fence, something which became a tactic in order to outnumber the Spanish border patrols.


Massive intrusions of sub-Saharan people via Melilla had become a Spanish issue and, to some extent, a European Union issue. This prompted the Spanish government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in 2005 to build up a third fence next to the two deteriorated existing ones, in order to completely seal the border outside of the regular checkpoints.

This third razor wire barrier cost Spain €33 million to construct. It consists of 11 km (7 miles) of parallel 3 m (10 ft) high fences topped with barbed wire, with regular watchposts and a road running between them to accommodate either police patrols or ambulance...
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