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Police in North Macedonia find 211 migrants crammed into truck at Greek border

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FILE - A truck driver waits behind a road sign at North Macedonia's southern border with Greece, near Gevgelija, in 2019
FILE - A truck driver waits behind a road sign at North Macedonia's southern border with Greece, near Gevgelija, in 2019   -   Copyright  Boris Grdanoski/Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Police in North Macedonia have found 211 migrants — including 63 children — packed into a truck near the border with Greece.

The truck was stopped by border police around midnight on Monday during a routine check on a regional road near the town of Gevgelija.

Police say that 144 of the migrants are from Bangladesh and 67 from Pakistan.

The truck driver, a 27-year-old Macedonian national identified by police only by his initials "EP," was arrested.

The individual is being held at the Gevgelija Police Station before charges are filed.

Police officers from the Regional Center for Border Affairs and Migration say the truck held Skopje registration plates.

The migrants were detained and transferred to a shelter transit centre in Gevgelija pending deportation back to Greece.

On Wednesday, police also confirmed a pickup truck carrying 32 migrants had crashed near the southern border with Bulgaria and Greece.

Eight people were transferred to the local hospital, two of them with serious injuries.

Authorities said the vehicle was carrying 15 Afghans, nine Pakistanis, six Bangladeshis, one Syrian and one Iraqi.

The vehicle is believed to have been traveling at high speed before it hit another car and crashed into parked vehicles in the town of Strumica on Tuesday.

The driver of the truck was arrested on suspicion of migrant trafficking.

The Greek border with North Macedonia was closed earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but trafficking networks remain active in the area.