Page last updated at 20:03 GMT, Thursday, 1 January 2009

Migrant killed by Morocco police

African migrants in Tenerife, Spain (file image)
Migrants hope they can find a better life in Europe via Melilla

Police in Morocco have shot dead an African migrant who was among 80 people trying to force their way into the Spanish enclave of Melilla.

Security officials said the group had stormed the border post in a "particularly violent assault".

Melilla is a target for hopeful migrants aiming to make the journey on to Spain or other EU countries.

Numbers attempting the crossing have increased in recent months after border barriers were damaged by flooding.

Officials, quoted by Moroccan state news agency MAP said security forces fired warning shots to push back the crowd.

"One of the illegal Sub Saharan African migrants was wounded in this particularly violent assault and died as he was transported to hospital," said the statement.

A further 16 people were arrested by the police, but the rest managed to escape.

Both Melilla and another enclave, Ceuta, are claimed by both Morocco and Spain.

Spain has heavily fortified the border, but many Africans seeking a better life in Europe still attempt to break through.

Many are caught, while some drown while attempting to cross to mainland Spain by sea.

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