Croatia's Interior Minister dismissed the allegations about the Croatian police illegally entering the area of Bosnia's north-western town of Bihac to bring back illegal migrants who were found on Croatian territory.
"I dismiss such insinuations. These are false accusations aimed at diverting attention from the crucial question of how those people came to Bihac and why they arrived there," minister Davor Bozinovic said in Istanbul where he attended a two-day conference on migrations under auspices of the Budapest Process.
Bozinovic's statement came as a response to the words of Bihac Mayor Suhret Fazlic, who accused Croatian police of bringing dozens of migrants to Bosnia on daily basis.
Speaking at a session of the Bihac city council, which discussed the migrant crisis in this part of Bosnia bordering Croatia, Fazlic said that he was “insulted as a Bosnian” to see someone from a different country can enter Bosnia and do whatever they like.
Croatian minister denied the accusations.
Back in 2017 Croatia alerted Bosnia's authorities over the trend of increasing migrant tides through their territory and suggested that they should enhance the control on the borders with the countries from which migrants were, the minister said.
“Furthermore, it has been clearly stated on several occasions that the problem cannot be solved by allowing migrants to walk illegally into Croatia,” added Bozinovic.
Croatia does now allow irregular migrations and is permanently reinforcing the police force to protect the borders, primarily due to irregular migrants who are trying to enter our country from Una-Sana Canton (north-western Bosnia), obviously with the permission of those who are supposed to deter them, the Croatian minister said.
Bosnia's authorities have been struggling with the migrant issue for the whole past year, after dozens of thousands of foreign nationals, coming from various Asian and African countries took to Bosnia, a route to their final destinations in European Union.
Due to weather conditions, the influx of migrants to Bosnia significantly decreased over the winter season and a little more than 1,000 were registered after entering the country since the beginning of the year. Some 4,000 migrants are currently accommodated in Bosnia, in seven shelters – of which most are located in the northwestern Una-Sana region, the region bordering Croatia.