A temporary location where migrants will be accommodated outside of the town of Bihac will be determined on Wednesday, and police in the area where the town is located will stop further migrant arrivals, the Security Minister said on Tuesday, following a meeting he had with an operative group that was set up to tackle the migrant issue.
Minister Dragan Mektic met with officials from the northwestern Una-Sana Canton (USK), where Bihac is located, a day after residents in the town held a protest demanding state authorities set up accommodation for the migrants outside of town and limit their movement.
Thousands of migrants have entered Bosnia on their way toward EU countries since the year began. The country became a significant transit point for them after numerous surrounding countries closed their borders, with Bosnia now being described as a "migrant hotspot" among local officials.
The next stop after Bosnia for the migrants is mostly the country’s western neighbour, Croatia. Croatian border police, however, often turn them away from the border and back into Bosnia.
The northwestern towns of Bihac, Cazin and Velika Kladusa are located in USK and near Croatia’s border and are strongly affected by the situation.
This was the first meeting where concrete measures regarding the issue in Bihac were discussed, Mektic said.
“At latest, tomorrow the location of the accomodation site for the migrants staying in Bihac will be revealed, where those who are currently staying in the town’s streets, parks and private accommodation, will be placed,” the minister said.
“We cannot ban their freedom of movement, but we will have to reduce it due to security reasons, as was done in other European countries,” he added.
USK Police Commissioner Mujo Koricic announced that police will set up stops at the points of entry to the USK and stop the further influx of migrants into the area.
“We have to do this, as with an arrival of a number of new migrants, the security situation would definitely be jeopardised,” Koricic said.
“We will inform all transportation providers of this so they stop transporting migrants who will not be able to enter the territory of the Canton,” he added.
USK Prime Minister Mustafa Ruznic and representatives of the International Organisation for Migration said that adequate accommodation and humane conditions will be ensured for the migrants already staying in the Bihac area.