Come spring, Bosnia expects a new migrant wave

NEWS 18.02.2019 20:13
Source: N1

According to Bosnia’s Security Minister, Dragan Mektic, Bosnia can expect close to 25,000 new migrants in 2019, which is around the same number as last year and the State Border Police said they expect new migrants when Drina river’s water levels drop.

The number of migrants entering the country has decreased over the winter, but illegal routes they use to enter the country have not been closed. Ahmad Jali, a migrant from Bangladesh, used one such route to enter Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“I came with a Pakistani. I gave him € 500 after which we came here. I want to go to France, but I don’t have that much money. I don’t have a passport – everything’s a problem,” Jali said.

The State Border Police expects a new migrant wave with the arrival of warmer weather. They are mostly entering Bosnia across the Drina river, on the eastern border with Serbia, near the towns of Bijeljina, Zvornik and Visegrad.

“Our best partner, right now, is the bad weather. The moment the weather gets warmer and more stable, the situation at the border will get more complicated and similar to what we had last year,” Sanela Dujkovic, Bosnia’s Border Police Spokesperson said.

The Border Police also expect 100 new staff members and they will be assisted by officers from other police agencies in controlling the border.

Last year, the migrants who came to Bosnia mostly flocked to Sarajevo, near the city’s train station where they even formed a tent-settlement at one point.

Today, some of them can be found in migrant centres in the Una-Sana Canton in the north of the country, but most of them had left for the EU.

The UNHCR, however, said the biggest migrant wave is over.

“The situation today is incomparable to what we had in 2015 when around a million migrants went through the Western Balkans. Not Bosnia, but through North Macedonia and Serbia,” Nevena Crvenkovic from the UNHCR said for N1.

This organisation said that there are some 10,000 migrants currently residing in Bosnia and Serbia.