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Police find 41 migrants alive in truck

November 4, 2019

Police in Greece have found a group of mostly Afghan men in a refrigerated truck. The driver, a Georgian national, has been arrested.

Migrants are seen inside a truck found by police, near the town of Xanthi
Image: picture-alliance/AP/xanthinew/S. Karypidis

Forty-one men and boys were found hiding in a refrigerated truck in northeastern Greece on Monday.

Police stopped the truck on the highway for a routine check near the city of Xanthi after it was believed to have crossed the border from neighboring Turkey.

Men treated for breathing problems

Upon the discovery of the migrants, officers arrested the driver and took the migrants to a nearby police station for identification.

All the men were believed to have been from Afghanistan — save for one Iraqi and one Syrian — and six were minors. The driver of the truck was a Georgian national, and the truck had Bulgarian license plates.

Read more: Frictionless travel facilitates trade — and human trafficking

The truck's refrigeration system had not been activated. 

None of the men were injured, but eight were treated for breathing problems.

Migrants are seen inside a refrigerated truck as others lie on the road, during a police check on a highway near Xanthi in Greece.
Migrants were found inside a refrigerated truck during a police check on a highway near XanthiImage: Reuters/S. Karipidis

Greece struggles with migrant resurgence

The discovery in Greece comes just 10 days after 39 bodies, believed to have been of Vietnamese migrants, were discovered in the back of a truck outside of London. Two people in the UK and eight in Vietnam have been charged over the deaths.

Read moreUK charges truck driver after 39 people found dead

Greece is buckling under the weight of the biggest resurgence in arrivals of migrants and refugees since 2015. Most migrants are reaching the Greek Aegean islands near the Turkish border by boat, but some also come overland, using a river border crossing with Turkey.

Road accidents involving migrants have become more common in northern Greece in recent years. In 2019 alone, police have arrested dozens of people in connection with human trafficking.

mmc/aw (AP, Reuters)

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