A Moroccan woman has been arrested for trying to smuggle a 19-year-old migrant from Gabon across the border with Spain curled up inside a suitcase.

The Spanish Civil Guard arrested the woman in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave next to Morocco, on December 30.

It comes as around 1,100 sub-Saharan African migrants today tried to cross into Spain from Morocco via Ceuta by storming a border fence.

A 19-year-old migrant, from Gabon, was smuggled across the Morocco-Spain border in a case

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.

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.

Two women were arrested after the baby was discovered in the bag at the Morocco-Spain border (pictured) last month

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

However, Libya has become a more common departure point for African migrants, most of whom come from sub-Saharan countries and attempt the crossing to Italy by boat.

2016 was the deadliest year ever for migrants in the Mediterranean, with almost 5,000 deaths, according to the International Organization for Migration.

The incident involving the migrant in the suitcase comes a month after a four-week-old baby almost suffocated after being smuggled in a sports bag across the same border.

Last year an eight-year-old boy, Abou, from Ivory Coast, was smuggled into Spain from Morocco inside a suitcase

The baby vomited over an officer when it was lifted out the bag which had been sealed by a zip in the humid conditions.

And last year an eight-year-old boy, Abou, from Ivory Coast, was also smuggled into Ceuta inside a suitcase.

He was found inside the bag being carried by a 19-year-old woman. He was found in a ‘terrible state’ when police opened the case.

ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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