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How Men Headed for Italy Ended Up Dead in Paraguay

The 'Guardian' charts a deadly migrant journey
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2020 11:37 AM CST

(Newser) – The seven men squeezed their way into a shipping container that they thought would deliver them to a new life in Italy. Instead, their bodies were found months later in the center of South America. "We imagine that their destination wasn’t South America, as they would never have been able to survive the journey," says a prosecutor in the capital of Paraguay, where the men ended up. The Guardian shares the North African men's story as one that illustrates the "ever more hazardous routes" migrants have been taking "to avoid fierce violence from security forces in Balkan states." Due to how perilous the water crossing from Turkey to Greece can be, many opt for a months-long route through the Balkans, which involves getting through snowy forests, mountains, and violent border police in the likes of Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia.

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As for the seven men, they had been living in a refugee camp in Sid, Serbia, and their expectation when they entered the shipping container in a railway yard there in July was that they would travel to Milan via Croatia's capital, Zagreb. Instead, the train traveled to the Croatian port of Rijeka. The container was then put on a ship whose journey wound from Egypt to Spain to Argentina, where the container journeyed upriver to the Paraguay capital of Asunción. The men's decomposed bodies were found Oct. 23; ID cards found in the container and shared online led to their identification. Officials in Paraguay speculated that the men did not raise the alarm because they possibly suffocated early in their journey. The BBC reports it appears they had packed enough food and water for 3 days. Two arrests were made in Serbia in the case, reports Deutsche Welle. (Read more migrants stories.)

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