Bosnia braces for an increased influx of migrants as spring is coming

NEWS 12.03.2019 17:41
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Source: N1

With spring coming, more and more migrants are entering Bosnia on their way to the EU, and the country’s authorities can hardly handle the influx.

Some 25,000 migrants entered Bosnia in 2018 and authorities expect the number to be even higher this year.

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According to the head of the Foreigner’s Affairs Service, Slobodan Ujic, the number of migrants crossing the border has risen significantly over the past seven days.

“It is worrying that throughout the past seven days we’ve had a daily influx of over 100 illegal migrants and that the route via Montenegro and Herzegovina has opened up again,” Ujic said, adding that additional manpower and equipment will be needed to handle the situation.

Once they enter Bosnia illegally, the migrants usually express an intent to request asylum, as this then permits them to stay in the country legally for 14 days.

Some 1500 of them actually requested asylum but none of the requests were approved.

According to Ujic, only 18 per cent of the migrants are refugees, the rest being economic migrants. Most are Pakistanis, Iraqis but also Syrians, Moroccans and Algerians, he said.

According to Border Police spokesperson Sanela Dujkovic, Bosnia is understaffed and can’t monitor its borders around the clock.

“We need another 450 people,” said Border Police spokesperson Sanela Dujkovic, adding that this number is at least “several times as much” if police are to monitor the borders for 24 hours.

“The point is that the Border Police cannot solve the complex situation at the borders alone,” she said.