Two days after local media outlets published footage of illegal migrants walking freely around Strumica, Mayor Kosta Janevski finally responded – by calling on others to deal with the problem.

Strumica is the new link in the Balkan migrant route. With the fair summer weather and the lifting of coronavirus curfews which made spotting illegal migrants relatively easy, new groups are pouring from Greece into Macedonia. Many are crossing over the Belasica mountain, trying to avoid the well protected flatland area of Gevgelija that was at the center of the 2015/16 crisis.

We need stronger police presence in the city to guarantee the peace and security of our citizens. We must all work together to protect the stable and peaceful environment we are known for, Janevski said.

Groups are intercepted almost daily now, and one case led to a traffic accident that ended in the death of a local citizen.