Bosnian security minister accuses Croatian police of migrant pushbacks

NEWS 01.08.2019 14:57
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Source: Ilustracija

Bosnia and Herzegovina's Security Minister Dragan Mektic has again accused Croatian police of forcibly returning illegal migrants to Bosnia and Herzegovina and violating the country's territorial integrity.

“We have the information to prove this, that they enter our territory armed, and footage showing what they do to migrants who cross into Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina, they beat them, take away their money and mobile phones, and return them to us,” Mektic told the Bosnian Faktor news website on Thursday.

Mektic said that his ministry does not have the authority to respond because this is a foreign policy matter, adding that all information available has been referred to the country's presidency from which they expect a reaction.

“Something has to be done, there has to be a response. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been notified that Croatian police enter Bosnia and Herzegovina armed, and they, too, must respond and protect the integrity and sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Mektic said.

The Croat chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina's tripartite Presidency, Zeljko Komsic, raised this issue at a meeting with Croatia's Ambassador Ivan Sabolic on Wednesday.

Suhret Fazlic, the mayor of Bihac, the town with the largest concentration of illegal migrants seeking to reach western Europe, made similar accusations in a statement carried by the Zagreb-based Jutarnji List daily earlier this week.

Fazlic said that all migrants caught in Croatia are pushed back across the border near Bihac regardless of whether they came from Serbia or Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Croatian police, armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, cross the border one kilometre deep into our territory. When I tell them that it is against the law, they just shrug and say they are acting under orders. You can't justify such actions with deterrence,” the mayor said.