News World New arrest over refugee death truck

New arrest over refugee death truck

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A fifth person has been arrested over the deaths of 71 migrants found in an abandoned truck in Austria.

Police are investigating a “Bulgarian national, a male, on suspicion of committing the crime of people smuggling”, Hungarian police said in a statement.

The arrest was made late on Saturday.

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Three Bulgarians and an Afghan were already remanded into custody on Saturday until September 29 over last Thursday’s gruesome discovery of the truck.

All four said they were innocent and that they will appeal. Austria may seek to have them extradited.

Police believe they are low-ranking members of one of the numerous and often unscrupulous human-trafficking gangs that tens of thousands migrants pay to help them get into the European Union.

The 7.5-tonne truck found on an Austrian motorway contained the decomposing bodies of 59 men, eight women, a toddler and three young boys, provoking international revulsion.

The dead were thought to be Syrians and police believe they suffocated and that they had been dead for up to two days before the truck was discovered by motorway maintenance workers.

The suspects’ court appearance came as three “severely dehydrated” children were recovering in an Austrian hospital a day after they were rescued from a second van packed with 26 Syrians, Bangladeshis and Afghans.

The van was pulled over by Austrian police after a short chase early on Friday near the German border.

“If the journey had continued the situation could probably have become critical,” a police spokesman told AFP.

Another spokesman said two five-year-old girls and one six-year-old boy were in “stable” condition in hospital.

The United Nations estimates 300,000 people have fled conflict and hardship in the Middle East and Africa for a better life in Europe this year.

Some 2500 have died in the attempt, mostly while making the dangerous trip across the Mediterranean.

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