The citizens' association in the Una Sana Canton (USK) in northwest Bosnia has canceled an announced Friday protest after local authorities said they will not accommodate the numerous migrants that ended up in the area in a local private hotel.
Locals were unhappy with the proposal to accommodate the migrants in the ‘Sedra’ hotel, as many of them make a living from the tourism in the area and the hotel is located at “the most beautiful part of the river Una,” they said.
Tourists flock to the area every summer to see the Una river and its waterfalls.
“We have nothing against these people, we even try to help them whenever we can. However, we know of much more adequate locations in the canton and in all of Bosnia for them. This is why I am completely against Sedra being turned into a migrant accepting centre,” local Nijaz Malkoc said.
Since the beginning of 2018, the number of migrants passing through Bosnia has drastically increased. The country became a significant transit point for the thousands of migrants after numerous surrounding countries closed their borders.
The migrants aim to reach EU countries through Bosnia and Croatia. Croatian border police, however, often turns them away from the border and back into Bosnia.
The northwestern cities of Bihac, Cazin and Velika Kladusa are located near Croatia’s border and are strongly affected by the situation.
Bosnia’s Security Minister, Dragan Mektic, visited Bihac on Thursday to discuss the situation with local authorities, resulting in the proposal to accommodate the migrants in the local hotel.
The mayor of Cazin, a town within USK, also said he disagrees with that solution.
“The hotel area and the complex are absolutely inadequate for accommodating several thousand migrants. Considering the fact that Sedra is at the border between Bihac and Cazin, and that it is very far away from border crossings, imagine what kind of problem this would create,” Cazin's Mayor Nermin Ogresevic said.