USK PM concerned over migrant incidents in Bihac

USK PM concerned over migrant incidents in Bihac Izvor: N1

Several incidents took place throughout the past 48 hours in the area of the Student Home in the northwestern town of Bihac, where a group of migrants is staying, and this is partly because police was told to stop securing the area, the Prime Minister of the Una-Sana Canton (USK) where the town is located told N1 on Thursday.

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.  

USK PM Husein Rosic expressed concern over incidents that took place in the Bihac area in the past couple of days, including a fight that broke out between the migrants which resulted in one of them being hospitalised and another being suspected of attempted murder.  

According to Rosic, these incidents occur because officials from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have asked support units of the USK Ministry of Interior stop patrolling the area around the Student’s Home because the security forces that were engaged there have not been sufficiently trained to control the situation.

He said that he will ask IOM Regional Coordinator for the Balkans, Peter Van der Auweraert, why that request was made.  

The security situation in other areas near Bihac, where police has “everything fully under control”, is satisfying, he said.  

He said he the IOM had no reason to ask the police to leave the Student Home area or for the Red Cross to decrease the food rations.  

“I think that was one of the conditions that could additionally worsen the entire situation,” he said.  

The area around the Student Home is not fenced and this is why incidents happen, he said, adding that when bigger groups of migrants are seen outside the area police officers take them back there.  

He also said that the Foreigner’s Affairs Service lacks manpower.  

“Two people work there. They cannot properly respond to everything. However, that situation has now calmed down. But will it again become alarming next week, or stagnate, we cannot predict,” he said.  

The USK has not received any money from the six million Euro that the European Commission has approved for help for migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said, adding that some politicians abuse the situation for their election campaign.  

“I will ask the Bosnian Council of Ministers to help us regarding healthcare needs of the migrants. We have exhausted all of our resources,” he said. 

The local Government in the town of Velika Kladusa is ignoring the problems the migrants are facing, he said, adding that the town’s mayor ordered local institutions to prevent water from being hooked up in the facilities of the Agrokomerc building, which the state Government decided will be used to accommodate migrants.  

He also criticised the Security Minister, Dragan Mektic.  

“I told the person who has the most responsibility, the Security Minister, what I had to say. We were then promised that things will happen much faster, that has not happened,” he said.  

The tourist season in USK is threatened because of the migrants, he said, explaining that local authorities expected a 200 percent increase in tourists visiting the area, but that the migrant crisis has caused tourism to decrease.  

He also said it was good that migrants entries have decreased by 30 percent, but also that 60 percent of the migrants do not have any identification documents.  

“We currently have 2,750 migrants registered in our canton, but we have made some progress with our alarming statements and allegations against certain institutions, in the sense that we were returning those who don’t have the necessary documentation,” he said.

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