Migrants, Refugees Block Bosnia-Croatia Border Crossing

The border crossing between Bosnia and Croatia was closed after a couple of hundred migrants and refugees trying to get into the EU country blocked the main road.

Mladen Lakic | BIRN | Sarajevo

Some 200 migrants and refugees blocked the main road towards Bosnia's border crossing with Croatia on Wednesday morning, resulting in the Maljevac border checkpoint being closed to all traffic, the Bosnian border police said.

"Migrants are sitting on the road, blocking the traffic, and so far no incidents were recorded," border police spokesperson Sanela Dujkovic said in a press release.

Local media also reported that some 90 migrants and refugees are currently stuck in a train in the northern Bosnian town of Bihac, in the Una Sana Canton, where police have not permitted them to disembark. 

"Buses with migrants will not be allowed to enter the Una Sana Canton due to the lack of accommodation capacity in this area," Mujo Koricic, police commissioner of Una Sana Canton told media on Wednesday.

The surge of migrants and refugees towards the border started on Monday and continued on Tuesday, when some 400 people gathered on Bosnia's border with Croatia after false information circulated that the EU state would let them in.

The migrants then slept out in the open at the border overnight, hoping to be allowed in to Croatia.

The exact number of migrants currently residing in Bihac is unknown, but recent estimates from local police, the UN refugee agency UNHCR and others put the figure at between 3,000 and 5,000 in the town.

From the start of the year up until October 17, just over 18,000 migrants and refugees were registered as having entered Bosnia and Herzegovina, many of whom are travelling on the new so-called 'Balkan route' to Western Europe, which passes through Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and in some instances Serbia.

A total of 6,411 of the migrants came from Pakistan; others came from Iran (2,944), Syria (2,533), Afghanistan (2,962) and Iraq (1,675), the Bosnian Service for Foreign Affairs told BIRN.