Macedonia: Over 11,000 refugees sent back to Greece since March

16 Μαΐ 2016

Macedonian authorities have sent more than 11,000 people back to Greece since it closed its borders to migrants in early March.

   Director of the Macedonian Interior Ministry of Strategic Affairs Department Nataliya Spirova told Anadolu Agency that, in total, 11,803 migrants had been apprehended and returned to Greece since the country sealed its borders on March 8.
   She added the border patrols were done by Greek, foreign and Macedonian police and military forces. In total, eight Croatian, seven Serbian, nine Slovenian, 25 Slovakian, 21 Austrian and 30 Polish security forces are on duty at Macedonian border control points as part of EU measures to control the refugee crisis.
   Moreover, still according to the ministry, 23 people have been arrested since Jan. 1 for being involved in smuggling migrants or human trafficking and face judicial procedures. According to data obtained from the Ministry of Interior, there are currently 491 asylum seekers in Macedonia.
   According to the Greek Refugee Crisis Management Coordination Body, a total of 54,340 identified refugees and migrants remained on Greek territory as of Wednesday. Almost 30,000 of the refugees are in northern Greece; 9,440 of them are in the Idomeni camp near the Macedonian border.
   Over 173,000 asylum seekers and refugees have crossed into Greece and Italy since the beginning of 2016, according to the International Organization for Migration. Of the 173,761 people that have already crossed the Mediterranean this year, 153,106 have reached the Greek islands as of April 11 while 19,930 people landed in Italy. Another 648 people landed in Spain, while 27 others landed in southern Cyprus.
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