On June 23, 64 Bangladeshi migrants were also found in a truck on a highway near North Macedonia’s border with Greece.
Authorities in North Macedonia rescued 211 migrants, including 144 Bangladeshis, packed into a truck near the country's southern border with Greece, police said on Tuesday.
During a routine check on a regional road, a border patrol stopped the truck around midnight Monday near the town of Gevgelija, and found the migrants including the Bangladeshis and 67 Pakistani migrants, reports UNB citing AP.
Sixty-three children were also among the rescued migrants.
Police also arrested the truck driver, a 27-year-old Macedonian national identified by only by his initials EP.
The migrants were detained and transferred to a shelter transit centre in the border town of Gevgelija, pending deportation back to Greece.
Late on June 23, at least 64 Bangladeshi migrants were also found in a truck on a highway near North Macedonia’s border with Greece.
The truck’s driver evaded arrest during the inspection near Strumica, in the country’s southeast, said police in a statement the next day. They, however, gave no other details about the migrants.
Those migrants were also detained and transferred to the same transit centre in Gevgelija.
The Greek border with North Macedonia was closed earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but trafficking networks remain active in the area.
They ferry 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.
North Macedonia, which has applied to join the European Union, is on the so-called Balkan route taken by many migrants from Greece towards northern Europe.
The Balkan migrant route officially closed in 2015 when countries along it shut their borders, blocking a main passage to northern Europe.
Yet thousands of people fleeing conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and beyond continue to travel via Turkey, Greece and the Balkans in the hopes of reaching Western Europe.