From file: Migrants walking near boder between Greece and North Macedonia | Photo: Imago Images
From file: Migrants walking near boder between Greece and North Macedonia | Photo: Imago Images

Authorities in North Macedonia have discovered 42 migrants packed to the back of a truck. It appeared that they were part of a group of largely Syrian nationals due to be sent back to Greece.

A police patrol intercepted the truck near the town of Star Dojran, 160 kilometers south of the capital of Skopje and close to the country's border with Greece. According to the Associated Press, the police car had been following the truck on November 6, with the intention of flagging it down to inspect it.

However while the vehicle was still moving, the driver and a passenger jumped out, causing the police patrol vehicle to hit it as the truck made a turn. 

No one was injured in the collision.

Read more: Balkan route: 144 suspected migrant smugglers arrested

Largest raid in six months

Authorities discovered 42 migrants in the truck, with all but one person being Syrian nationals. It was the first larger group of migrants discovered in North Macedonia in nearly six months.

The police believe the migrants came from the border town of Gevgelija, where they were awaiting deportation back to Greece at a migrant shelter.

North Macedonia is a popular transit country for migrants hoping to reach Europe -- usually after landing in Greece. However, as the country has introduced stricter border checks since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many migrants have opted to go via Albania.

Read more: 'Migrants, drugs and money': Spotlight on illicit business in the Western Balkans

With AP

 

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