Spanish police found a man curled up inside a car engine entering from Morocco on Sunday, in the latest example of the extreme lengths to which people will go to reach Europe.
Officials stopped the vehicle at the crossing into Spain's north African enclave of Ceuta. Another man was found hidden behind the car's back seat.
Both men, who are from the West African nation of Guinea, were suffering from a lack of oxygen and were taken for medical treatment, a police statement said. They and two other Moroccan men in the car all face legal proceedings, according to police.
Through the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in north Africa is just one of the treacherous routes to Europe for a growing flow of migrants and refugees. More than 300,000 people have reached Europe by sea this year, most of them coming ashore in Italy and Greece. Around 2,100 people have attempted the crossing to Spain.
None of the routes are safe. With smugglers often cramming men, women and children onto flimsy boats or into the backs of trucks, at least 2,400 people have drowned or suffocated along the way.
The two Guinean men may have narrowly escaped a similar fate. Just last month, a 27-year-old Moroccan man died of suffocation inside a suitcase on a ferry from Melilla to Spain. Four other people drowned while trying to swim into Ceuta from Moroccan territory that same week.
It's not clear what drove these particular men, who were identified only by their initials, to such desperate measures. Yet Guinea is among the poorest countries in west Africa and was at the epicenter of last year's Ebola outbreak. The country has endured decades of repressive government. Despite recent improvements following a 2013 transition to democracy, human rights groups warn of persistent allegations of torture by security forces and a widespread practice of female genital mutilation.
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