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What is known about the 126 migrants rescued from an abandoned container in Guatemala

Crowded, abandoned and screaming for help inside a shipping container on the side of a road.

This is how the Guatemalan police found 126 migrants at dawn this Saturday, who were rescued between the towns of Nueva Concepción and Cocales, in the south of the country.

Shortly before, locals had reported that screams were heard inside the trailer, and they raised the alarm.

Authorities believe the migrants were abandoned by smugglers who had been paid to take them to the United States through Mexico.

109 of the people rescued are from Haiti. There are also people from Nepal (11) and Ghana (9), according to the National Civil Police (PNC).

“We hear screams and blows”

Speaking via Twitter after the discovery, a police spokesman said: “We heard screaming and hitting from inside the container. We opened the doors and found 126 undocumented people inside ”.

Photographs released by police showed the migrants getting out of the van with backpacks or sitting on the road.

The agents said they provided humanitarian assistance to the migrants before escorting them to shelters run by the Guatemalan Migration Institute.

A spokeswoman for the Guatemalan immigration authority, Alejandra Mena, said the migrants had arrived at Honduras and from there they continued the dangerous journey north with the intention of reaching the United States.

Now they will be transported back to the border with Honduras and handed over to the authorities of that country.

Worrying situation

The discovery comes just a day after Mexican authorities detained 652 migrants, including 355 minors, who were traveling in three double-trailer refrigerated trucks near the southern border of the United States.

Soldiers at a military checkpoint in Tamaulipas, on the Mexican-Texas border, searched the trucks after hearing voices inside.

The authorities were able to detect that 564 migrants were from Guatemala, 39 from Honduras, 20 from El Salvador, 28 from Nicaragua and one from Belize.

According to reports, at least 197 of the minors were traveling alone.

The incident reflects growing concern over the number of migrants, including a large number of Haitians, who are taking risks in their attempts to reach the United States.

According to the Panamanian prosecutor’s office, since the beginning of 2021, more than 50 migrants have died while trying to cross the Darien Gap, a jungle corridor on the border with Colombia.

Migrants camping before crossing the Darien Gap.  (JOHN MOORE / GETTY IMAGES).

Haiti has suffered years of instability culminating in the assassination of President Jouvenal Moïse in July. The following month, the country was hit by a deadly earthquake.

Thousands of Haitians had already left the country in search of work in Latin American countries.

Many began trying to reach the United States with the belief that they qualify for the Temporary Protected Status, a temporary right to stay in the country that has been extended to Haitians already living in the North American country, but not to newcomers.

Last month, about 13,000 Haitians they met under a bridge that connects Del Río, in Texas, with Ciudad Acuña in Mexico. Since then, the United States has deported more than 7,500 people to Haiti, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

More than 10,000 people, mostly Haitian immigrants, camped under the bridge that connects Del Río, in Texas, with Ciudad Acuña, in Mexico.  (Getty Images).

The United States’ special envoy for Haiti, Daniel Foote, resigned in protest at the deportations, saying that returning people fleeing an earthquake and political instability was “inhuman”.

Marsha Espinosa, from the US Department of Homeland Security, reiterated that “our borders are not open and people should not make the dangerous journey (to the United States).”

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