Bosnia Deploys Police to Border to Stop Migrants

Worried by a surge in illegal migration, Bosnia is to deploy more police to the border to prevent a growth in the migrant flow, the country's Prime Minister announced.

Denis Zvizdic, the chair of Bosnia's Council of Ministers, on Thursday said police will be reassigned to help the border police service secure Bosnia's borders and stop illegal crossings.

This is one of the measures of the draft of the emergency plan that the Council of Ministers adopted earlier this week, which is expected to be confirmed soon.

“All those spotted entering Bosnia from Serbia and Montenegro, at every location that is not an official border point, will be stopped and returned,” Zvizdic said in Sarajevo, answering MPs' questions regarding the migrants' situation in the country.

Zvizdic added that Bosnia will maintain levels of humanity, considering its recent wartime past and the dire situation that the citizens of Bosnia faced at that time, but stressed the importance of national security.

“All of those [migrants] who enter Bosnia at official border crossings are registered and then placed in camps in Una Sana Canton and Sarajevo,” Zvidzdic noted.

He said also that Bosnia will send diplomatic notes to Serbia and Montenegro in order to work jointly on this issue. 

Peter Van der Auweraert, coordinator of the International Organization for Migration, IOM, for the Western Balkans, told BIRN that although Bosnia has about 3,600 registered migrants, there were fewer in reality – between 2,000 and 2,500 – because "every day a large number cross the border with Croatia.

"If we observe the routes, we expect that by the end of summer we will see about 400 people arriving in Bosnia per week. This is an estimate, but of course, not everyone will stay in Bosnia, because a larger number will try to cross into Croatia," Van der Auweraert said.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants, mainly from the Middle East and Africa, passed through the so-called "Balkan route" in 2015, trying to reach Western Europe. Bosnia was not part of that route, which was effectively shut down in March 2016.

However, migrants then started searching for new routes to Western Europe via Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, and now Bosnia, sparking fears in Bosnia that it would not be able to cope with the numbers.

Source: balkaninsight