AP NEWS

Migrants, police officers injured in North Macedonia crash

December 22, 2019 GMT

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — Police in North Macedonia said Sunday that two migrants and two police officers were injured when a people smuggler’s car smashed into a police jeep.

Police said the collision happened on Saturday when the police jeep tried to stop the car carrying 10 migrants from Afghanistan near a toll both at the central Macedonian town of Veles.

The injured migrants and policemen were taken to the hospital in Veles. Health authorities said all four sustained slight injuries.

The alleged organizers of the smuggling operation, three North Macedonian nationals, ran from the scene and were later arrested, police said.

Authorities said the migrants were believed to have entered North Macedonia from Greece. After the crash, they were transferred to a detention center in the border town of Gevgelija, pending deportation to Greece.

Although the Balkan route followed by migrants trying to reach Europe’s prosperous heartland has been closed since 2015, thousands still use it. They usually pay large sums to smuggling gangs to illegally get them through the closed borders.