28 Iraqi nationals detained crossing Latvia-Belarus border in past few days

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Three incidents of illegal border crossing have been identified on the Latvian-Belarusian State border within the past few days, with a total of 28 Iraqi nationals detained, the State Border Guard said August 6.

On Wednesday, August 4, the border guards at the Silene department detained 12 persons (according to the persons themselves, Iraqi citizens) who had crossed the State border illegally.

Two additional cases of illegal border crossing were detected on Thursday, August 5. In particular, Four Iraqi citizens were detained in the parish of Skrudaliena, whereas 12 more had crossed the border in an inflatable boat on the Daugava and were detained in Piedruja parish.

In all cases, criminal proceedings have been initiated regarding intentional illegal crossing of the State border.

All persons were detained in accordance with the procedures specified in the Immigration Law, 12 of them have been placed in the accommodation center of detained foreigners in Daugavpils, other persons have been placed in the accommodation center of detained foreigners in Mucenieki.

The Border Guard said that this year eight cases of illegal crossing of the State border of Latvia-Belarus had been identified and a total of 55 third-country nationals – 51 Iraqi, one Syrian, one Sri Lankan, one Indian and one Belarusian citizen were detained.

This means that during the past few days there has been a rapid increase in the numbers of detained individuals. An influx of migrants is predicted given the situation in Lithuania, as reported earlier by LSM. Additional resources have been allocated to ensuring border security.

Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said he had been in touch with his Iraqi counterpart to discuss matters.

"During the conversation, Edgars Rinkēvičs, presented Latvia’s perspective of the illegal migration pressure exerted by Belarus on its EU neighbours and called on the government of Iraq to make every effort to prevent the Iraqi citizens from illegally entering Europe through Lithuania.  The Latvian Foreign Minister thanked Iraq for its current expeditious measures to restrict illegal migration. The Foreign Ministers agreed on further cooperation in the matters concerning the return of irregular migrants," said an account of the all from the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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