Illegal immigrants held near Belarus border

A group of 29 illegal immigrants from Iraq was detained at the Latvia-Belarus border on Thursday morning, Latvian Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis told the BNS newswire.

There are also women and children among the detainees.

Representatives of the Latvian State Border Guard confirmed the detention of the Iraqi migrants saying that the circumstances of their arrival are being clarified.

The interior minister indicated that with the arrival of these people Latvia's capacity to accommodate asylum seekers has been exhausted.

A large group of illegal immigrants, all 28 of them Iraqi citizens, was detained in eastern Latvia earlier this month. The State Border Guard said it was the largest number of illegal immigrants detained at one time as a group.

The group, which included seven men, six women and 15 children, had arrived in Latvia by illegally crossing the Belorussian border. They were sent to an asylum seekers' accommodation center in Mucenieki just outside Riga, but later the Interior Ministry reported that some of the Iraqis had left the center and probably also Latvia.

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