Migrants reboard the train to Bihac

Migrants reboard the train to Bihac

Migrants reboard the train to Bihac Izvor: N1

Some 50 migrants reboarded the train from Sarajevo to Bihac after being already returned from there via bus, because their entrance to the city was banned by the local police. The local police said all the migrants will be returned from this north-western town.

A group of 99 migrants arrived in Bihac by train on Tuesday morning. They were returned to the “Usivak” migrant centre in Hadzici, near Sarajevo, in central Bosnia.

"This operation was conducted in cooperation between the Una-Sana Canton (USC) Police Commissioner Mujo Koricic and the state Security Minister Dragan Mektic,” the Cantonal Interior Minister spokesperson Snezana Galic said.

According to the conclusions of the Operative Group for Migrant Situations in the Canton, the arriving migrants must be displaced away from the Bihac urban centre and on the outskirts of the town, however, the location was not determined.

This north-western Bosnian region has become a hotspot for migrants who had entered the country through its eastern borders in the attempt to reach the European Union, their final destination. Although it is hard to assess the exact number of migrants in the Una-Sana Canton, due to their constant movement, the local institutions claim there are more than 10,000 of them in this region.

Over the past several days, the Bihac area witnessed several protests by the locals who demanded state authorities find urgent solutions to the migrant situation in the Canton.

Namely, the towns of Bihac and Velika Kladusa are the two closest towns to the border between Bosnia and Croatia. On Tuesday, some 200 migrants who stayed over the past months in an improvised tent camp near the northwestern Bosnian town of Velika Kladusa, only a few kilometres away from the border, came to the Maljevac border crossing, insisting that the border is open so they could continue their journey to the European Union countries.

After spending the night in open, where they were surrounded by the police, the migrants started exerting pressure in the morning and eventually broke through the first cordon of border police officers, which led to the closing of the border crossing.

The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) entity Public Railways company, FBiH Railways said they are but collateral damage of the migrant situation in the country, and that they warned of this on several occasions.

"The Cantonal police boarded our passenger train without any announcement and prevented the passengers who had properly purchased their tickets from travelling to their final destinations. Upon arrival at Bihac, 96 passengers were prevented from leaving the train," the FBiH Railways said. "According to the police, these were all migrants and the Police requested that they are returned to Sarajevo without buying a return ticket."

Cantonal Prime Minister Mustafa Ruznic said after the Operative Group's meeting that Bosnia’s border protection and prevention of further entrance of illegal migrants is of paramount importance.  

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