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The Latest: 4 Albanians arrested in Syrian refugees case

A man rides a bicycle by a poster that reads in Hungarian "Let’s not risk it! Let’s vote no! October 2", supporting Hungarian Premier Minister's Viktor Orban policies on migrants in Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. Hungarians will vote Sunday in a referendum which Prime Minister Viktor Orban hopes will give his government the popular support it seeks to oppose any future plans by the European Union to resettle asylum seekers among its member states. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
October 01, 2016 - 10:22 AM

BUDAPEST, Hungary - The Latest on Europe's migration crisis (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

Albanian police have arrested four Albanians and stopped 15 Syrians they were helping to go to neighbouring Kosovo in an effort to reach Western Europe.

A statement Saturday said the Syrians had left a refugee camp near the Albanian capital of Tirana and were trying again to leave the country.

The Syrians were part of a larger group stopped earlier this week in eastern Albania coming in from a camp in Thessaloniki, Greece, through a mountainous area. The refugees are being given temporary shelter care before turned back to the country they came from.

Police are also searching for six other Syrians who also left the camp.

Albania has not been a major transit route for migrants through Europe so far, although small groups have tried crossing it to reach its northern neighbours.


6:10 p.m.

Police say several people have been injured after fights between locals and migrants in three towns in eastern Germany.

In the first incident late Friday, a group of German youths used clubs and pepper spray against a group of Syrians who threw stones at them at a refugee shelter in the town of Sangershausen, 200 kilometres (124 miles) southwest of Berlin.

In Bautzen, near Germany's eastern border with Poland, a 17-year-old Syrian threatened a 39-year-old German man. Police said Saturday that the minor injured himself and was taken to hospital.

The town hit headlines last month following a series of fights between residents and migrants.

In a third incident late Friday, police had to separate a group of 30 locals who attacked 10 migrants in the northern German town of Schwerin.


4:40 p.m.

Serbia's defence minister says police and army patrols on the border with Bulgaria have discovered 9,300 migrants attempting to cross into the country illegally since mid-July.

Minister Zoran Djordjevic said Saturday the troops also have caught 53 people smugglers in that period.

Serbia has stepped up its border patrols with Bulgaria recently as part of efforts to curb the influx of migrants seeking to reach the European Union. Thousands of migrants have been stuck in Serbia looking for ways to cross into EU-member nations Croatia and Hungary.

Migrants have turned to clandestine routes after countries along the Balkans migration route closed their borders to migrants in March.

Serbian Justice Minister Nela Kuburovic says the government plans to toughen the penalties for people smuggling.


2:45 p.m.

Romanian border police are investigating 17 Syrians on suspicion that they tried to illegally enter Romania.

Border police they detained the Syrians, 11 adults and 6 children, who had left Bulgaria and were walking toward Ostrov, in southeastern Romania, on Saturday morning.

The migrants told police they were trying to reach Western Europe. Romanian and Bulgarian authorities are jointly investigating the group on suspicion of illegally crossing the border.

In a separate incident, border police in southwestern Romania said they spotted five men, aged between 20 and 53, early Saturday who were trying to cross into Romania.

Four were Lebanese and the other was Algerian. Border police are investigating the five on suspicion of illegally crossing from Serbia and trying to enter Romania.


1:25 p.m.

Muslims in Hungary say they are wary of the government's anti-migrant referendum this weekend, which polls show has boosted xenophobic feelings.

The government, contending that there is a direct link between migrants and terrorism, is seeking a popular mandate in Sunday's vote for its opposition to accepting any mandatory European Union quotas for resettling asylum seekers.

Timea Nagy, a Hungarian Muslim, says "I'm starting to feel that my own homeland is repudiating me."

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said Hungarians have "no problems" with the local Muslim community, but he believes any mandatory European Union quotas to relocate asylum seekers, including many Muslims, would destroy Hungary's Christian identity and culture.

Orban hopes that a rejection of EU quotas in the referendum will be mimicked by others and force Brussels to reconsider the plan.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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