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Dozens Of Afghan Migrants Hurt When Driver Flees Truck In North Macedonia

Authorities in North Macedonia say 34 Afghan migrants and a Macedonian truck driver were hurt when the driver leapt from his truck in an effort to escape police as he was transporting the migrants toward the border with Serbia.

The vehicle continued on before overturning into a gorge after the 24-year-old driver jumped from the cab on a main highway in central North Macedonia.

The driver and three of the migrants reportedly suffered serious injuries.

Children are said to be among the injured, who were taken to local hospitals.

Migrants from further south and east have continued to use the so-called Balkan Route from Greece and on to wealthier European states despite an official closure in 2015.

Officials in North Macedonia tried further to dramatically reduce the flow of migrants, many of them Afghan, in 2016, blaming the next country on the route, Serbia, for locking down their mutual border.

The United Nations' refugee agency said last month that nearly 71 million people were displaced worldwide last year by war, persecution, and other violence -- an increase of more than 2 million from 2017 and the highest level in almost 70 years.

The most "forcibly displaced" refugees have come from Syria, at 6.7 million, followed by Afghanistan at 2.7 million.

Based on reporting by AP

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