Bulgarian police made four arrests after they uncovered 18 dead migrants inside a truck, Reuters reported Friday.
The Bulgarian Ministry of Interior stated that the migrants were hidden between smaller compartments within the timber-laden truck, according to Reuters. Police found the truck in the vicinity of Lokorsko, a village outside the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.
Bulgarian Health Minister Asen Medzhidiev described “a lack of oxygen to those who were locked in this truck,” adding that the migrants “were freezing, wet” and that “they have not eaten for several days,” Reuters reported.
Medzhidiev said that 34 migrants were brought to hospitals in Sofia with some in critical condition, according to Reuters. One child was found among the perished migrants.
18 migrants including children have been found dead in a truck in Bulgaria, a Balkan country facing an influx in recent months not seen since the 2015 migration crisis. pic.twitter.com/XdkaDdj6Ra
— Dr. ALMOGHAYER د. محمد المغير (@Mogaza) February 17, 2023
Hailing from Afghanistan, head of the Bulgarian National Investigative Service Borislav Sarafov said that the migrants illegally crossed into Bulgaria from Turkey, Reuters reported. The migrants then stayed in the woods for two days before boarding the truck in the Bulgarian city of Yambol.
Bulgarian police believe Serbia was the destination for the migrants, the BBC reported. (RELATED: Three People Arrested In Connection To 50+ Deaths In Smuggling Tragedy)
Police official Atanas Ilkov said that of the four individuals arrested in connection with the truck, one has previously received a human trafficking sentence, and that charges will come as more evidence is gathered, according to Reuters.
Taliban rule and repression in Afghanistan have spurred mass emigration from the landlocked country, with many Afghans hoping to reach Europe or the United States.