North Macedonia: Police find 87 migrants, arrest two men

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — Police in North Macedonia say they have discovered 87 migrants crammed into a truck with a trailer in the southern part of the country and arrested two men for migrant smuggling.

Police said the migrants, who included 45 Syrians, 39 Pakistanis, two Congolese and one Indian — were found early Saturday during a routine check on a highway near the border town of Gevgelija.

Two Macedonian citizens, identified only by their initials as A.A. and M.J., were arrested. They face up to five years in prison if found guilty.

The migrants are believed to have entered illegally from Greece, heading for Serbia and onward to wealthier European countries. The migrants were transferred to a reception center in Gevgelija, pending deportation to Greece.

According to police, the migrant Balkan route through North Macedonia has become busier after the lifting of travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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