Catalan authorities to take in 10 Kurdish refugees found on truck carrying Mango clothing

The textiles company says that the vehicle had been subcontracted from another firm

Ten Kurdish migrants were discovered in Lliçà d’Amunt (Barcelona) on Wednesday hidden in a cargo truck that had arrived from Turkey. The five men, a woman and four teenagers arrived as stowaways at the logistics plant of Catalan clothing firm Mango. The company said the vehicle was subcontracted and does not belong to their fleet. The Catalan government has announced that it will take responsibility for the refugees.

Two of the Kurdish refugees leave a Barcelona hospital.
Two of the Kurdish refugees leave a Barcelona hospital.

The Catalan police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra, are investigating how the migrants got as far as Lliçà d’Amunt, and also how they managed to stay inside the truck during a journey that lasted several days. What is known so far is that the vehicle departed on Sunday from the İzmir port in Turkey, before traveling across the Mediterranean to the Sète port, in the south of France. A Mango spokesperson explained that a driver then brought the cargo to the company’s logistics plant, but doubts remain about the exact itinerary and the investigation is ongoing.

The migrants paid money to a group that was supposed to provide them with passage to the UK

The head of immigration for the Catalan regional government, Oriol Amorós, explained that the migrants were Kurdish people from Iran who were trying to reach Europe. With the help of a translator, the migrants explained that they had made part of their journey on foot, before paying money to a group that was to provide them with transport in a cargo truck, supposedly to the United Kingdom.

The Catalan textile company stated that all the shipments from Turkey are outsourced to another company and scanned when they leave the country. That would mean that, according to their theory, the refugees got on the vehicle in France. This is yet to be confirmed by the police.

The Mossos d’Esquadra took statements from the migrants and also from the driver, who assured officers that he did not know there were people in his vehicle. Afterwards, the Red Cross took them to the Immigrant, Emigrant and Refugee Service of Barcelona, where temporary accommodation was offered to them. They were also given medical assistance.

The Red Cross said it was also trying to determine if there was any parenteral relationship between the teenagers and the adults.

So far, Catalonia has taken in 60 refugees from the 687 who have arrived to Spain in recent months. The Spanish government has promised to accept more than 17,000 refugees in total before September next year.

English version by Sergio Segura and Laerke Saura. in English

From November onward, the Catalan edition of EL PAÍS,, will include a selection of news stories in English.

The texts will be prepared by journalism students at the Pomepeu Fabra University (UPF), who will be adapting content from Catalan current affairs every week, adding extra information and explanation to these stories so that they can be understood in a global context.