3 migrants found dead in Poland, 9 others hospitalized

September 19, 2021 GMT

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The bodies of three people who were trying to illegally cross into Poland from Belarus were found in the border region and another body of a woman was found on Belarus side, Poland’s prime minister said Sunday.

Premier Mateusz Morawiecki gave no other details but said on Facebook that he’s in touch with the interior minister and head of the Border Guards and that any potential links between these “dramatic events and Belarusian provocations” on Poland’s eastern border will be examined.

European Union members Poland and Lithuania are facing increasing migrant pressures on their borders with Belarus, which are part of the bloc’s eastern border. They say it’s a “hybrid attack” by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime in Minsk that is aimed at destabilizing the 27-nation EU.

In one case Sunday, local police spokeswoman Edyta Pacuk told regional Radio 5 that residents picking mushrooms in the forest near Poland’s border with Belarus and Lithuania came across three Iraqi men, one of whom was dead. The two other men were taken into police custody and hospitalized.

Border Guards spokeswoman Anna Michalska told The Associated Press that the bodies of two other foreigners were also found near the border with Belarus.


Prosecutors have opened investigations into the three deaths, the Border Guards said on Twitter.

In a separate incident, eight migrants — three women and five men — who got stuck in the swamps near Poland’s border with Belarus were saved Sunday by the joint efforts of Poland’s border guards, police, firefighters, military and airborne ambulance service, Michalska told Polish media. Seven of the migrants were taken to the hospital.

According to the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, Belarusian Border Guards said in a statement that the body of a woman was found near the village of Lesnoye, close to the border with Poland, and that three children and two adults were with the body. According to Belarus Border Guards, the people said they were threatened with weapons and forced to cross from Poland to Belarus, Gazeta Wyborcza reported.

Belarus authorities have invited a representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to the site, Gazeta Wyborcza said.

Poland and Lithuania are building razor wire fences, have increased border patrols and have introduced a temporary state of emergency along their borders to stop illegal migration.

Michalska said over 3,800 attempts at illegal crossings from Belarus have been foiled so far in September, over 320 on Saturday alone.


Follow all AP stories on global migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration.