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RFE/RL Helps Macedonian Bust

Illegal immigration ring broken up by authorities

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty says its Balkan service, Radio Slobodna Evropa, aided Macedonian authorities or prodded them into action on a human trafficking ring between Macedonia and Serbia.

According to a release from RFE/RL, a series of stories starting in January concerned illegal migrants crossing the Serbian border from the villages of Lojane and Vaksince in Macedonia. Once across the border they would continue the journey to other European countries. The story claimed that the traffickers took money from the migrants.

The release quoted Zoran Kuka, head of RFE/RL’s Macedonia Service, as saying that the stories “shed light on the topic of illegal immigration which is underreported in Macedonian media. Our interviews with Ivo Kotevski, deputy minister of internal affairs, and Seljami Mehmeti brought this issue to the attention of the public.”

The release cited the arrests of two men involved for “trafficking immigrants, kidnapping and robbery.” Additional reporting explained that the nationalities of the migrants included Afghan, Pakistani, Turkish Kurd, Chinese and North African. Also, that almost 60 migrants were discovered in Lojane.