At least 800 sub-Saharan African migrants have tried to cross into Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta from Morocco by storming a border fence, though most were turned back, the Spanish and Moroccan governments say.

Dozens of migrants made it to the top of the 6m barbed wire fence before being lifted down by cranes, footage from local TV station Faro TV showed.

Spain said about 1100 migrants attempted the crossing.

Only two were allowed into Ceuta to be taken to hospital while the rest were returned to Morocco, the Spanish Government said.


Five Spanish police and 50 from Morocco were injured, the Government added, after migrants used rocks and metal bars to try and break through gates to access the fence and clashed with authorities.

Morocco's Interior Ministry reported that some 800 migrants had tried to storm the enclave, and that all had been arrested. It said 10 members of its security forces were seriously wounded.

"From now on those making such attempts will be presented before the competent judicial authorities who will decree their expulsion from the kingdom (of Morocco) or heavier penalties, according the gravity of the act," the ministry said in a statement.

Spain's two enclaves in Morocco, Ceuta and Melilla, are often used as entry points into Europe for African migrants, who either climb over their border fences or try to swim along the coast.

Spain has drawn criticism from human rights groups for allowing some migrants to be immediately turned back to Morocco in such incidents. They argue that skipping the lengthier deportation procedures deprives people of the opportunity to claim asylum.

In early December more than 400 sub-Saharan African migrants managed to force their way over the Ceuta border fence.

- Reuters, AAP