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Bosnian Authorities Launches Tougher Crackdown on Migrants

August 28, 2020, 07.15 PM

SARAJEVO, - Bosnian authorities launched a widespread migrant crackdown in an attempt to prevent more Europe-bound newcomers from arriving.

Thousands of migrants have been stranded in the area prior to the crackdown and Bosnia has also set up police roadblocks to stop more migrants from crossing.

Authorities in the country’s Krajina region, bordering EU member Croatia, dispatched special police forces Wednesday to an UN-run migrant camp to calm a protest by 1,000 migrants.

Read also: Migrant Rescues in the Mediterranean Sea to Resume in August

The migrants in the camp near the town of Bihac are accusing Bosnian police of beating a homeless migrant.

The staff of the International Organization for Migration, which is running all seven migrant camps in Bosnia, withdrew from the tent camp of Lipa before special police arrived.

Officers fired several warning shots into the air to quell unrest by stone-throwing migrants.

Meanwhile, in two other migrant camps in Bihac, each housing over 1,000 single men, eight migrants tested positive for coronavirus this week — the first time that infections were found in the IOM-registered facilities in Bosnia.

Those migrants, all with mild cases, were transferred to Bihac's public hospital, a move that upset residents. Public anger grew further after authorities announced that two of them had escaped from isolation and fled.

Read also: 18-Year-Old Rohingya Refugee Runs Away from Camp in Indonesia’s Aceh

Authorities in Krajina have grown increasingly hostile to the thousands of migrants trapped in their region, particularly to an estimated 2,500 who are sleeping outdoors in squalid, insanitary conditions in Bihac and several other border towns.

The hostility has sparked a proliferation of vocal vigilante groups that are threatening migrants with violence and expulsion.

This year, some 10,500 migrants and refugees have entered impoverished Bosnia, which has never truly recovered from its brutal 1992-95 war.

That compares to just 755 migrant arrivals for all of 2017.

Frustrated that other parts of Bosnia are not sharing the migration burden, Krajina authorities decided last week to prevent all new migrant arrivals.


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