Young migrant uses plastic bottles to stay afloat as he tries to reach Ceuta

Footage shows child crying in water before being ushered away by soldiers on land

Zoe Tidman
Thursday 20 May 2021 13:18
Comments
Migrant boy swims to Spain's Ceuta with plastic bottles to stay afloat
Leer en Español

A boy has been seen using plastic bottles to stay afloat while out at sea trying to reach the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in North Africa.

The child, who appears to be around 13 to 14 years old, appears to be crying while in the water around the city, which has seen a surge in migrant arrivals this week.

Thousands have swum or climbed over a fence to make it onto European soil in recent days.

Around 1,500 migrants who made the crossing into Ceuta from Morocco this week are believed to be children and teenagers.

In devestating footage from the area, a visibly distresed boy can be seen swimming to Ceuta‘s beach with a dozen empty plastic bottles tied to his body to help him to float.

While still in the water, a soldier shouts to him from land.

He can then be seen removing the bottles and running across the beach to try and scale a wall, before being removed by soldiers and ushered away.

It was not immediately clear what happened later.

Deporting minors is illegal in Spain.

The rush of migrants into the Spanish city in North Africa began on Monday when Morocco appeared to loosen border controls.

This move has been widely interpreted, including by the Spanish opposition, as retaliation for Spain’s hosting of a Western Sahara independence leader. The Spanish government, however, has sought to keep the two issues separate.

On Thursday, Spain’s defence minister has accused Morocco of “blackmail” over its passivity in the face of a surge in migrant arrivals in Ceuta.

The day before, the Spanish government urged its mainland regions to relieve crammed reception centres for minors in the North African city.

Of the thousands of migrants still in Ceuta, many were children, some as young as seven or nine, some without families, according to Spain’s social rights Minister Ione Belarre.

Spain deployed troops to its North African enclave after the initial rush of arrivals, who detained thousands of migrants who tried to enter the city by water or over fences. Most of these have been sent back to Morocco.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in