Rescued: Young Afghans hidden in truck from Serbia

Six young Afghans, including four minors, were rescued by Carabinieri police on January 28. According to police, they had been on the road for the last eight months. Carabinieri police in the northern Italian town of Caponago discovered six young Afghan migrants hidden in a truck traveling from Serbia.

The operation occurred on January 28 but was made public by police on January 31. The youths, including four minors –three of whom are siblings– were discovered when the truck stopped in the town near Monza to unload the hundreds of tires it was transporting. The truck’s driver heard voices in the back of the truck while he was waiting to deliver the merchandise in the parking lot of a company and called the police.

The Carabinieri officers discovered the young Afghans hidden between piles of tires in a space of just a few centimeters. Four of them are aged between 13 and 16 while the other two are in their 20s. They had spent the past four days in the truck after traveling for eight months from their native country, Afghanistan, to Europe, investigative sources said.

Trip started eight months ago

When the Carabinieri police discovered them, the youths got out of the truck and told them their story.

Their trip, they said, started eight months ago in Afghanistan where they bid farewell to their families and friends and took the so-called “Balkan route” to reach Europe. Initially, they explained that they wanted to reach Serbia. But the truck they took departed from Serbia, leading investigators to believe that their intended destination was elsewhere.

When Carabinieri police found at least two cards from a Serbian refugee camp in their backpacks, the youths revealed they intended to reach Europe, without specifying which state.

Investigation into trafficking network

In order to make sure that nobody else was on board, the Carabinieri police officers waited for three hours until the operation to completely unload the truck was completed. Tired but in good health, the two youths aged 20 were hosted under the SPRAR social welfare system in a community building, while the minors were accompanied to a protected facility assigned to them by Milan’s tribunal for minors. Investigators will now try to discover the smuggling network that organized their trip.

Investigators added that they have had reports of other truck drivers along the same route saying they have found empty backpacks and water bottles among the goods they were unloading.