Migrants cross into Macedonia on foot

Greek police confirm migrants travelling in cargo train carriage tricked by smugglers

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Police in northern Greece announced on May 13 that 93 migrants including 18 children were released from a locked cargo train carriage who were tricked by smugglers and were travelling in the opposite direction of their intended destination.

According to the International Business Times, the migrants told Greek police they boarded the train from the border of Macedonia.

The migrants paid the smugglers 500 euros each to travel to Serbia. 

The Greece 2 Day news website reported that the police were notified Wednesday morning when one of the migrants called 112, the European Emergency number, and said that he is in a train full with other people and they are all disoriented. 

All migrants except one held temporary residency, which entitles them to remain in Greece. 

Hundreds of migrants - mainly from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Africa - have tried to cross into Serbia via Macedonia and Kosovo after travelling great distances on foot.

As stated in Frontex data, around 43,360 people crossed borders using the illegal route in 2014 and some 32,000 people arrived in the EU through the Balkans within the first three months of 2015.

Frontex is an agency of the European Union (EU) established in 2004 to maintain unity between the national border guards that serve to secure the external borders of the union. 

Thousands of people have and are still risking their lives and being arrested after often paying large sums of money to flee from war-torn, poverty stricken and oppressive countries to get to the Balkans or to take the perilous voyage across the Mediterranean to arrive in Europe.

Journeys across the Mediterranean sea have claimed the lives of over 1,850 migrants since the start of this year. 

Joint patrols by EU member states have plucked over 10,000 people from the Mediterranean in recent weeks.

Earlier this week Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, appealed to the United Nations to back a migrant crisis plan to fight against human traffickers in the Mediterranean.

As part of the plan a “mandatory migrant quota system” was proposed, which would allocate migrants to EU countries based on a “redistribution key” concerning a country’s population size, unemployment rate and number of asylum seekers previously accepted.

However, there is uncertainty whether the proposal may be approved as the UK, Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia strongly oppose the idea and the suggestion must be agreed upon by all EU states.

While the EU and the United Nations are trying to find a solution to the disastrous crisis, migrants continue to take exhausting and deadly journeys to Europe by walking, travelling in unsafe vessels and hiding underneath trucks and in train carriages.

TRTWorld and agencies