Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Over 10,000 migrants have entered Bosnia in 2018


Authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina said more than 10,000 migrants have entered the country irregularly in 2018.

The central authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina just released figures indicating that 10,800 migrants irregularly entered the country between January and August 15 of this year. Up to 2,300 are still in the country, a large decrease compared to Mid-July. 

Bosnian Security Minister Dragan Mektic said migrant flows are decreasing due to tighter controls at the borders. "We are getting migration under control and we are managing it safely," Mektic said, cited by regional broadcaster N1. 

In recent days, neighbouring country Montenegro sent soldiers to its border with Albania. Patrols of police officers and army soldiers were deployed to improve border monitoring and prevent irregular entries. 

Protests in Bihac 

Mektic said that Bosnia is planning reception centres to host migrants, which will be established in Bihac, Velika Kladusa and Cazin. He said about 30 people involved in migrant trafficking were arrested in Bosnia in recent months. 

Last week, a few dozen people came together in the city of Bihac to protest against the government's response to the migrant influx from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The protesters met in a square in the centre of Bihac, accusing the government of having intentionally sent migrants to their city without identifying or registering them or providing them with adequate housing. The protesters rejected the notion that Bihac was chosen by the migrants as a natural gathering place given its proximity to the border with Croatia, an EU country. 

Thousands of migrants live in makeshift camps in Bihac and neighbouring cities, able to depend only on the local Red Cross and a few humanitarian associations. 

Italian arrested in Croatia for transporting 59 undocumented migrants 

On August 18, an Italian citizen was arrested in Croatia near the city of Korenica, not far from the border with Bosnia, for attempting to transport 59 undocumented migrants into Schengen territory. The only information released about the suspect is that he is 32 years old. 

He was stopped while driving a truck with an Italian license plate belonging to a rental service in Reggio Emilia, carrying 59 migrants, most of whom were from Pakistan. They were likely headed from Bosnia to Austria or Italy, through Croatia and Slovenia. Since last spring, a new Balkan route has opened up, encompassing Greece, Albania, Montenegro, and Bosnia.