Greek authorities said Tuesday that the bodies of six suspected migrants were found near the island of Lesbos. The Greek coast guard said four bodies were found on a beach near the port of Mytilene and two others were taken from the water.
The bodies of the three men and three women have been transferred to Lesbos hospital for autopsies, they said. Three police patrol boats and a helicopter were involved in their search.
The Coast Guard said all the bodies had been confirmed to be foreigners. Search efforts are still ongoing to look for possible other victims and their boats.
The incident where the bodies were found occurred when Athens was accused of human rights violations against illegal migrants.
Lesbos, an island in the Aegean Sea near Turkey’s west coast, is a transit zone for migrants seeking to enter Western Europe from Asia and the Middle East.
Backed by the European Union’s border agency Frontex, Greece has tightened checks and restricted migrant arrivals on the Aegean islands in recent years.
The head of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) last month voiced concern about reports that Greece was involved in nearly 540 incidents of forced repatriation of illegal migrants on its land and sea borders with Turkey since 2020. The Greek government has denied doing so.
Nearly a million people are thought to have crossed the Greek islands to reach Western Europe at the height of the European migrant crisis in 2015. [ab/uh]