North Macedonia police: 53 migrants found hidden in truck

Police in North Macedonia said on Tuesday they had found 53 people crammed into a truck, and arrested the vehicle’s driver.

Police said in a statement the migrants — 34 from India and 19 from Cuba — were discovered during a routine control at a highway toll station near the northern town of Kumanovo late Monday.

The 39-year-old truck driver, a Macedonian national, was arrested.

The 53 people, who are believed to have entered North Macedonia illegally from neighboring Serbia, were transferred to a migrant shelter pending deportation back to Serbia. This was the third large group of migrants to have been apprehended over the past three weeks in North Macedonia.

The small Balkan country was once a main route for migrants seeking to slip from its southern neighbor Greece into wealthier European countries further north. But with the COVID-19 pandemic and strict controls on the border with Greece over the past year, migrants have been seeking alternative routes.