North Macedonia: 3 migrants and suspected smuggler injured



SKOPJE, North Macedonia — Three migrants and a suspected smuggler were seriously injured in North Macedonia when a car that police were pursuing overturned early Sunday, authorities said.

Police said the car was carrying 11 migrants, five from Pakistan, three from India and three from Afghanistan, when it overturned on a highway near the town of Veles. Officers chased the car after it failed to stop at a police signal, according to a police statement.

Police identified the suspected smuggler as a 27-year-old Macedonian national. He and three of the passengers were taken to a hospital, but their injuries were not considered life-threatening, and the Macedonian man was later arrested, the statement said.

The other migrants, who were believed to have entered the country from Greece, were transferred to a shelter in the southern border town of Gevgelija pending deportation back to Greece.

Migration along what is known as Europe’s Balkan route has picked up since travel restrictions imposed under the COVID-19 pandemic were lifted.

In the first 10 months of 2022, there were nearly 17,000 illegal attempts to enter North Macedonia, nearly double the number from the same period a year earlier, according to police.

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