A vehicle from northern Italy with Afghans, Syrians, Indians and Bengalis was stopped in Herkisville (NW) on Monday.
The cantonal police of Nidwalden found 23 Afghan, Syrian, Indian and Bengali refugees in a small van in Herkisswil (NW) on Monday morning. Unscathed, they wanted to move to another European country. The arrested smuggler denies the facts.
The Italian-registered van was traveling northbound on the A2 highway when it was stopped at about 6:30 a.m. as part of a heavy goods vehicle traffic check, Nidwalton police said on Tuesday. Police found 23 refugees in the cargo area.
First destination: France
These people, aged between 20 and 50, were driving for hours without any breaks or windows to stop and breathe fresh air. The convoy was due to leave northern Italy and head for France, Senad Sakic, head of the Nidwalden criminal police, told Keystone-ATS.
The refugees were taken to Nidwalton police headquarters. There they are interrogated and given food. According to their explanations, they intended to cross Switzerland and go to European countries. 23 were placed in a center for asylum seekers in Stanstedt (NW). The Nidwalton authorities must decide what to do next.
A 27-year-old Gambian resident of Italy has been arrested for allegedly smuggling refugees. A criminal investigation has been initiated against him for the crime of human trafficking. During the first interrogation, he denied knowingly transporting 23 people, the crime police chief notes.
A similar case near Schaffhausen
Last month, customs officials found two completely dehydrated Afghan refugees in the back of a truck near the Thyingen (SH) border crossing from Germany. The men, aged 18 and 30, were rescued after attracting attention by knocking from inside the cargo space wall. The truck driver, a 30-year-old Serb, was arrested.
In August 2015, 71 refugees, including four children, were found dead in a refrigerated truck south of Vienna, Austria. A convoy arrived from Hungary.