Four migrants believed to be Iraqis found dead on Belarus-Poland border: officials

Migrants are seen through fences as they sit on the ground in a camp near the border town of Kapciamiestis, Lithuania, on July 18, 2021. (AFP photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Bodies of four migrants believed to be Iraqis were found on the border between Poland and Belarus, officials said on Sunday.

Polish officials said bodies of three men, believed to be Iraqi nationals, were found on the Polish side of the Poland-Belarus border, according to Deutsche Welle.

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Facebook that links between these “dramatic events and Belarusian provocations” would be investigated.

“Today [Sunday] the bodies of three people were discovered in the border region with Belarus,” Poland’s border guards said in a tweet, according to Voice of America.

Meanwhile, Belarusian authorities said they had found body of an Iraqi woman within a meter of the border.

“The body of a woman of non-Slavic appearance was discovered within a meter of the Belarus-Poland border,” a Belarusian border official told state news agency Belta.

State news agency Belta reported that three children, a man and an elderly woman were also found near the body, VOA reported.

Belta cited the dead woman’s husband as saying that Polish law enforcement drove them to the border and “under threat” forced them to cross over to the Belarusian side.

Poland’s border guards also tweeted that they had spent several hours rescuing migrants struck in swampland off the river Suprasl by the border with Belarus, VOA reported.

“Eight immigrants [five men and three women] were saved, seven of them hospitalized,” the border guards tweeted, adding that firefighters, rescuers and police officers also took part in the operation.

EU member-states Poland, Lithuania and Latvia accuse Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of opening a backdoor route for migrants into the EU.

Poland and Lithuania are building razor wire fences and increasing border patrols. Both have declared a state of emergency along the border areas in an effort to halt migrant flows.

In August, the European Union reported a “significant decrease” in migrants crossing the border from Belarus since Iraq halted the regular Baghdad-Minsk flights.

In August, Iraq suspended flights to Belarus after the EU accused Minsk of encouraging unauthorized arrivals of mainly Iraqi migrants in retaliation against EU sanctions.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell paid a visit to Iraq on September 6 and met senior Iraqi officials in Baghdad.

A European source told Euro Efe that Borrell had asked Iraq to “permanently suspend flights” to Belarus and that Iraq had agreed to “cooperate closely on immigration issues”.

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