ISTANBUL — Turkish police have detained 15 unregistered migrants from Afghanistan who patrolled Istanbul streets with clubs in their hands to hunt Pakistanis whom they accused as robbers.
Residents in the Sultangazi district called the police when they spotted the Afghan group in the Esentepe neighborhood late Jan. 28.
The 15 Afghans were later detained while walking the streets by wielding clubs, reported Daily Hurriyet.
The suspects told the police that they were robbed by unidentified Pakistanis and were looking for them.
Police launched an investigation into the robbery allegation before deporting the unregistered migrants back to Afghanistan.
Nearly 450 irregular migrants held in Turkey
At least 448 irregular migrants were held in Turkey, security sources said Tuesday.
In the northwestern province of Edirne, gendarmerie forces rounded up 417 Afghan, Pakistani, Iran, Bangladesh, Palestine and Moroccan nationals, said a security source who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
In a separate operation in the northwestern province of Canakkale, 31 Afghan nationals were held in Ayvacik district by gendarmerie forces while trying to cross into Greece illegally.
All of the migrants were referred to provincial migration directorates.
In recent years, Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross to Europe, especially the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
More than 265,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to Turkey’s Interior Ministry