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SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — Police in North Macedonia say a patrol has found 45 migrants on a main highway near the central town of Veles and arrested a van driver.

The 45 Pakistani migrants were discovered packed in the van early Sunday. Police say the 28-year-old driver, a Macedonian national, was arrested.

The migrants are believed to have entered North Macedonia illegally from Greece and are expected to be deported back.

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Although officially closed since 2016, the so-called Balkan route remains active for the illegal transfer of migrants to wealthier European countries.

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The number of migrants caught entering North Macedonia illegally has increased 20% this year.

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