Serbia police find illegal migrant camp, people smugglers

International

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbian police on Sunday said they have discovered an illegal migrant camp near the borders with Hungary and Romania, and detained suspected people smugglers.

The makeshift camp was discovered in the village of Srpski Krstur, by the bank of the Tisa river, a police statement said. It didn’t specify how many migrants were found at the site.

A police video from the scene showed several people facedown on the ground with their hands behind their heads, as special police searched tents and wooden huts. The footage showed confiscated mobile phones and knives.

“This smuggling gang has committed criminal acts and made the citizens feel unsafe,” Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said. “This will not be tolerated.”

Thousands of people, who fled war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa or Asia, have turned to migrant smugglers as they seek ways to reach Western Europe. From Serbia, migrants try to go to neighboring European Union states Hungary, Croatia and Romania. Or they first go to Bosnia and then look for ways to reach neighboring Croatia from there, before moving on toward wealthier EU nations.

Vulin said the suspected people smugglers have engaged in theft and extortion from other migrants. The statement said migrants found at the makeshift camp would be transferred to a state-run center for asylum-seekers in the south of the country, while local police and anti-terrorism authorities will take over those suspected of criminal acts.

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Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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