TRESTENIK, Albania (Reuters) – Patrolling dust paths on sun-baked hills bordering Greece, a European police workforce helps Albania intercept extra of the migrants making an attempt to succeed in European Union states to the north.
A member of the European Border and Coast Guard Company (FRONTEX) makes use of binoculars as he patrols together with his colleagues close to Albania-Greece border, in Kapshtica close to Korce, Albania, July 23, 2019. Image taken July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Florion Goga
The EU border and coastguard police Frontex deployed 50 officers with evening imaginative and prescient cameras and automobiles two months in the past at two border entry factors favored by migrants, in its first operation exterior the bloc’s frontiers.
“We’ve got seen a gradual movement of migrants coming throughout from the Greek border… We’re seeing apprehensions just about day-after-day,” mentioned Krzysztof Borowski, a Frontex spokesman.
Groups from Germany, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Lithuania helped cease 200 migrants of their first month since deploying on Could 22, and since then teams of 10, 20 and 30 have been
intercepted every day on the border with Greece in jap Albania’s Korce space, Borowski added.
Many of the migrants caught on the border look like from Iraq, Syria and Morocco.
One other northern neighbor of Greece, North Macedonia, was the primary route utilized by greater than 1,000,000 migrants from the Center East, Africa and Asia in an enormous 2015-2016 inflow.
However a number of thousand of them went by means of Albania to cross into Montenegro or Kosovo and transfer north to northern EU states.
Now, Frontex is making an attempt to make sure safety on the Albania-Greece is as tight as potential.
Jan Seibold, 42, and Christian Schonwalde, 31, members of a riot police unit from Leipzig, Germany, and their Albanian colleague Marenglen Metolli, 30, have been working 12-hour shifts on the border close to Trestenik village for every week now.
The migrants get off taxis or different automobiles at a toll sales space on a freeway in Greece, cover and sleep in the course of the day within the forest and cross at evening or early within the morning, Metolli mentioned.
“I WANT TO GO TO GERMANY”
Their workforce had stopped half a dozen migrants, together with 4 males aged from 17 to 49 who had not eaten for 4 days.
“One in all them had been in Germany for 4 years, working in a resort, and needed to return,” Schonwalde instructed Reuters.
Their patrols have helped scale back the numbers of migrants stopped within the inside from 565 individuals from Could 22 to July 22 final yr to 320 in the identical interval this yr, exhibiting much less evaded the joint web.
“Earlier than FRONTEX began the Joint Operations, we used to apprehend extra migrants within the city areas; now due to their troops patrolling the inexperienced border, the migrants are positioned primarily on the border part with Greece,” Albania’s Border Police director Eduart Merkaj instructed Reuters.
Some 2,047 migrants have been apprehended in 2015, then numbers fell to 915 and 1,047 respectively in 2016 and 2017, rising to 6,893 migrants in 2018. The numbers could also be barely increased this yr, since Greek holding facilities are nearer to Albania now.
As soon as fingerprinted, migrants are despatched to an Asylum Seekers Middle within the outskirts of Albania’s capital Tirana. Few apply for asylum, most select to return to Greece, whereas others flee and try and make their method to western European nations.
On the heart, some members of a bunch caught by Albanian police mentioned they’d left the Iraqi city of Duhok a yr and a half in the past for Turkey. They spent most of that point in Greece earlier than being rounded up by Albanian police.
Ali Sulejman, 30, mentioned his life in Iraq was “loopy” and he had paid 500 euros ($556) to get to Turkey. One other 1,500 euros obtained him by ship from Turkey to Greece.
One in all his buddies, who gave his identify as Ahmed Ahmed, 40, was touring together with his spouse and 7 youngsters aged from seven months to 12 years. All of them have been in good well being.
“I’m staying in Greece one yr and 5 months and yesterday I got here to Albania. I need to go to Germany, Germany is superb, my sister lives there,” Sulejman instructed Reuters.
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Reporting by Benet Koleka, Enhancing by William Maclean