Authorities in North Macedonia found 211 migrants, including 144 Bangladeshis, packed into a truck near the country's southern border with Greece during a routine check on a regional road, police said Tuesday.
A border patrol stopped the truck about midnight on Monday near the town of Gevgelija, and found the migrants including the Bangladeshis and 67 Pakistanis. Among the rescued migrants, there were also 63 children.
The truck driver, a 27-year-old Macedonian national identified by police only by his initials EP, was arrested.
The migrants were detained and transferred to a shelter transit centre in Gevgelija pending deportation back to Greece.
The Greek border with North Macedonia was closed earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but trafficking networks remain active in the area, ferrying migrants who make their way from Turkey into Greece and then head north toward more prosperous countries in the European Union's centre and north.
On June 22, 64 Bangladeshi migrants have been found in a truck on a highway near North Macedonia's border with Greece.
The driver evaded arrest during the inspection late Monday near Strumica in the country's southeast. In a statement Tuesday, police gave no other details about the migrants.
The migrants were detained and transferred to a holding site in border town of Gevgelija, pending deportation to Greece.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees fleeing conflict and poverty countries used Greece as a springboard to European countries in 2015 and 2016, when an EU-brokered accord with Turkey all but halted the flow, trapping many in Greece.
At least 5,200 migrant children from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa currently live in Greece, many of them in harsh conditions.