Six immigrants found dead on Italian road

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The Independent Online

The bodies of six men thought to be Kurds were have been found dumped near a road outside this Adriatic coast city. Police suspect they suffocated in the back of a truck which was transporting them across southern Italy.

The bodies of six men thought to be Kurds were have been found dumped near a road outside this Adriatic coast city. Police suspect they suffocated in the back of a truck which was transporting them across southern Italy.

"The first medical tests showed they ran out of air, probably in the sealed back compartment of a truck," a police official, Antonio Giusto, said.

A motorist driving at dawn spotted five bodies piled up on the side of a road and alerted police. Investigating officers discovered a sixth body lying in a nearby field.

Investigators believe the men were ethnic Kurds who landed on Italy's southern shore and were attempting to travel north and perhaps cross the border to neighboring countries.

Small boats carrying would-be immigrants often land near Foggia, a major port 360 kilometers (215 miles) south of Rome.

The discovery of the bodies recalled the deaths in June of 58 Chinese immigrants trying to enter Britain who suffocated in an airtight compartment of a truck carrying tomatoes.

People-smuggling is a serious problem along Italy's coast, with smugglers charging refugees - mainly from Kosovo, Turkey and North Africa - large sums for the journey.

Kurdish immigrants often ask political asylum. They are then released by authorities while Italy considers their request, allowing them to head toward job markets elsewhere in Europe.

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