Croa­tia: 42 mi­grants hos­pi­tal­ized af­ter found packed in van

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

ZAGREB, Croa­tia: Forty-two mi­grants were hos­pi­tal­ized af­ter po­lice in Croa­tia found a van crammed with 67 peo­ple, in­clud­ing chil­dren, trav­el­ing through the coun­try, au­thor­i­ties said yes­ter­day.

The oc­cu­pants were suf­fer­ing from car­bon­monox­ide poi­son­ing and some were un­con­scious, doc­tors said. They were treated in lo­cal hos­pi­tals and are now out of dan­ger, the coun­try’s health min­is­ter said. “It is a se­ri­ous med­i­cal con­di­tion and it is good that they were found,” min­is­ter Mi­lan Ku­jundzic said in com­ments car­ried by the Hina news agency. “Most will be re­leased but three or four will re­main hos­pi­tal­ized for ob­ser­va­tion.”

Ku­jundzic said two chil­dren aged 10 and 12 were among the mi­grants found in the van. The mi­grants were cold and hun­gry, with some say­ing they hadn’t eaten for five days, he said. Po­lice said they stopped the van with Bri­tish plates on Satur­day evening, near the town of Novska, by the bor­der with Bos­nia. Some of the mi­grants were packed in the van’s cargo com­part­ment, po­lice said.

Two Bul­gar­ian cit­i­zens are un­der crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion for smug­gling the mi­grants, the po­lice state­ment said. It said the van was headed west, to­ward the cap­i­tal Zagreb and on to­ward west­ern Europe.

Thou­sands of mi­grants are stranded in neigh­bor­ing Ser­bia look­ing for ways to reach EU coun­tries Croa­tia or Hun­gary. Many turn to peo­ple smug­glers to take them il­le­gally across the bor­ders. EU na­tions have sought to curb the in­flux af­ter more than 1 mil­lion came to Europe in 2015.

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