Police in North Macedonia discovered dozens of migrants in a truck near the Greek border in the southeastern part of the Balkan nation, authorities say.
Police on November 7 said a patrol car was following the truck near the town of Star Dojran, 160 kilometers south of the capital, Skopje.
The driver of the truck and a passenger suddenly jumped from the moving vehicle, and the truck turned and struck the police car. Police officers were not injured.
On inspection of the truck, police found 42 migrants – one from Bangladesh and the rest from Syria.
Police said it was the first large group of migrants discovered in North Macedonia in the past six months.
The group was moved to a migrant shelter in Gevgelija on the border with Greece.
Authorities said they will be deported back to Greece, where police said they believe they came from.
North Macedonia is a transit route for migrants trying to get from Greece to wealthier countries in Western and Northern Europe.
People smuggling have remained active in the region despite border closures and restrictions of movement during the COVID-19 pandemic, although numbers have declined.
A refugee wave sparked tensions during the European migration crisis in 2015 and 2016 and prompted tough action by Skopje to prevent migrants from using North Macedonia as a transit route.
Skopje’s countermeasures six years ago included the erection of a fence on the border with EU member Greece as the number of stranded refugees, most of them from North Africa and the Middle East, mounted.
Based on reporting by AP and RFE/RL’s Balkan Service