Spanish authorities are searching for a man who paraglided across the border fence between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla in what appears to be a creative new way to migrate illegally to European territory.
Two citizens denounced the paraglider’s presence on Thursday afternoon, said Eder Barandiaran, a press officer at the Spanish government’s delegation in Melilla, one of the two Spanish enclaves in North Africa.
The person got off and ran, so officials suspect it is an expatriate. The man’s identity and nationality are unknown, but pictures of the paraglider circulated on social media on Thursday.
The border with Melilla has been at the center of a scandal since June, when 23 people died as hundreds of migrants and refugees tried to make their way through and a stampede broke out. Moroccan police fired tear gas and beat some people with their batons, including some who were lying on the ground.
Spanish authorities have been accused of illegally forcing some migrants to return to Morocco, in violation of their right to seek asylum.
Several press investigations into the June incident, based on videos and photographs, found that some of the deaths may have occurred on Spanish soil, which the interior minister has repeatedly denied.
Of the more than 29,000 migrants who have arrived in Spain without authorization by land or sea so far this year, about 1,300 have done so through Melilla, according to Spain’s interior ministry.