A group of migrants rest at the Serbian village of Kelebia, bordering Hungary | Photo: EPA/Zoltan Balogh
A group of migrants rest at the Serbian village of Kelebia, bordering Hungary | Photo: EPA/Zoltan Balogh

Serbian authorities on Wednesday conducted an operation that led to the detention of nearly 1,000 migrants and the arrest of seven alleged traffickers.

During a police operation in several regions of Serbia against undocumented migrants and suspected human trafficking networks on Wednesday, 991 migrants were detained and seven alleged traffickers were arrested.

The interior ministry reported that the operation centered on the capital, Belgrade, as well as the cities of Subotica, Sombor, Kikinda, Sabac, Kraljevo, Vranje, and Novi Pazar.

The undocumented migrants were reportedly taken to reception centers.

The operation was part of the international initiative named 'Hotspot'.

Migrants on Balkan Route

"Serbia will not be a parking lot for migrants," Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said in statements on Wednesday. Vulin took part in the police operation in one of the central areas of Belgrade. Serbia, he said, would not allow its citizens' daily lives to be endangered by criminal activities of trafficking organizations.

Serbia is one of the countries located along the so-called Balkan route, along which thousands of migrants and refugees from Central Asia and the Middle East -- after crossing Turkey and Greece or Bulgaria -- attempt to cross the Balkans any way possible -- even on foot -- to reach countries in western Europe.

Many decide to hide on lorries awaiting checks at the many borders and dozens are regularly found, especially on lorries at the border between Serbia and Hungary.

Four Afghans intercepted in Romania

On Tuesday, four Afghan people were discovered and detained while they were seeking to cross without documents from Romania to Hungary on a lorry carrying plastic materials and headed for Germany.

Romanian border police intercepted the youths between the ages of 14 and 26 during routine border controls, according to local media reports.


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