Nearly 150 migrants are blocked in a passenger train that arrived Friday morning in the northwestern city of Bihac as local authorities do not let them disembark, fearing they will just make the already bad humanitarian situation in the area even worse.
“There were 153 migrants in the train, 146 of them are currently in it,” the spokesperson of the Interior Ministry of the Una-Sana Canton (USK) where Bihac is located, Snezana Galic, told the local Patria news agency.
Seven migrants who were within the “vulnerable category”, which may include children, were placed in a migrant centre in Bihac, Galic explained.
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.
Local authorities in Bihac said they will block any further migrant arrivals.
“Negotiations regarding their return to Sarajevo are ongoing,” Galic said.
According to Bihac’s Mayor, Suhret Fazlic, accommodation capacities for migrants in Bihac are filled.
“We ask for any further arrivals of migrants from Sarajevo via Talgo trains to Bihac to be stopped, and for the Border Police to stop the uncontrolled entries of migrants from the Republic of Croatia to USK territory,” he said.