N. Macedonian police find 28 migrants in van, arrest driver

Dec 13, 2021, 4:57 PM | Updated: Dec 14, 2021, 7:02 am

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — Authorities in North Macedonia have detailed 28 mostly Cuban migrants found crammed into a van driven by a suspected member of a migrant smuggling gang, police said Tuesday.

It was the second time in three days that a group of Cubans was intercepted being driven through North Macedonia. In both cases police said the drivers, who were arrested, were Serb citizens, and the migrants had entered the country illegally through Greece.

Police said 25 of the migrants found late Monday were from Cuba, including five minors, and the other three were from India. The van was stopped after a brief chase when the driver ignored police signals to stop near the southern border town of Gevgelija.

The migrants were transferred to a main migrant shelter center in Gevgelija, pending deportation to Greece.

Late Friday, police discovered 41 Cuban and Indian migrants, including five children, in a routine check on North Macedonia’s main highway.

The small Balkan country was once on a major route for illegal migrants seeking to slip into wealthier countries in Europe. But with the COVID-19 pandemic and strict border controls over the past year, neighboring Albania is now a bigger destination for migrants trying to slip in from Greece, where they mostly arrive from Turkey.

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Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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N. Macedonian police find 28 migrants in van, arrest driver