North Macedonia: 61 migrants held after police raids

SKOPJE, North Macedonia — Police in North Macedonia say they’ve arrested 61 migrants and detained five suspected traffickers after highway checks and raids on Sunday and Monday.

Thirty migrants in Afghanistan, Syria, and Somalia were discovered concealed in a truck close to the central town of Veles. The driver fled on the car but was later detained, authorities said.

In another incident, another 28 migrants, including four children, from Bangladesh, Pakistan, along with Afghanistan were discovered after police raided two houses in a northern area close to the boundary with Serbia and detained three men. Three other migrants of unidentified nationality were also found at a car close to the boundary, and the driver was detained.

The five smuggling suspects, all guys, are North Macedonian nationals, authorities said.

The migrants are thought to have entered North Macedonia illegally from Greece and have been expected to be deported back to the neighboring nation.

Greece’s border with North Macedonia was closed earlier this season on account of this coronavirus pandemic but trafficking networks in the region stay active.