Macedonia to draft in army against migrants

2015-08-20 18:31
A police officer secures the railway tracks before a train taking migrants towards Serbia, enters the railway station in Gevgelija. (AP)

A police officer secures the railway tracks before a train taking migrants towards Serbia, enters the railway station in Gevgelija. (AP)

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Skopje - Macedonia said on Thursday it had declared a state of emergency on its southern border with Greece and would draft in the army to help control the influx of migrants crossing the frontier.

"Due to an increasing pressure on the southern border... it is estimated that greater and more efficient control is needed in the region where illegal border crossings from the Greek side have been massively registered," a government statement said.

By law, declaring a state of emergency allows for the "appropriate engagement of the army".

The government said it expected that the involvement of the army to "increase security of the local population" and to improve the handling of migrants crossing the border from Greece.

It did not say how many soldiers would be involved in border control.

The move came a day after Skopje said it was running out of trains to transport thousands of Syrian refugees heading towards the EU, describing the situation as "alarming".

According to the UN refugee agency, in the last week alone, 20 843 people - virtually all of them fleeing war and persecution in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq - arrived in Greece, which has seen around 160 000 land on its shores since January.

Read more on:    greece  |  macedonia  |  migrants

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