Spanish authorities are looking for a person who paraglided over a border fence from Morocco to the Spanish enclave of Melilla in what appeared to be a new and creative way to migrate irregularly to European territory.
Two citizens reported seeing the paraglider Thursday afternoon, according to Eder Barandiaran, a press officer for Spain’s government delegation in Melilla, one of two Spanish territories in North Africa.
The flyer ran off after landing, leading authorities to suspect the individual was a migrant trying to reach Europe. The person’s identity and nationality remain unknown, but images of the paraglider circulated on social media Thursday.
The Melilla border has been at the center of a scandal after 23 people died there in June during an attempt by hundreds of migrants and refugees to force their way in, resulting in a stampede. Moroccan police launched tear gas and beat men with batons, even when some were prone on the ground.
Spanish authorities have also been accused of unlawfully pushing back some migrants to Morocco, allegedly violating their right to seek asylum.
Several media investigations based on videos and photos of the June incident found that some of the deaths may have taken place on Spanish soil, which Spain’s interior minister has repeatedly denied.
Of the more than 29,000 migrants who crossed into Spain by land or sea without authorization so far this year, some 1,300 did so through Melilla, according to the Spanish Interior Ministry.
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