The situation in the part of Bosnia that is most affected by the migrant crisis, the Una-Sana Canton (USK), has significantly improved, but authorities at higher government levels are still not treating the issue the way they should, Bihac mayor, Suhret Fazlic, told N1 on Wednesday.
Migrants use BiH as a transit country on their path towards the EU, which is why the northwestern USK, is where most of them end up as they attempt to cross the Croatian border.
Several migrant camps have been set up in the area in order to remove the migrants from the streets of the local towns, including Bihac, where locals organised several protests asking state authorities to help deal with the situation.
However, many migrants still set up camps in abandoned buildings in the area.
On Tuesday, local police relocated about 260 migrants who were staying in a nearly completely demolished abandoned factory near Bihac to the ‘Lipa’ migrant camp.
According to Fazlic, there is an even larger group of migrants still staying in the abandoned Energoinvest facility.
Fazlic said the migrants have access to all basic necessities in camp Lipa and that there is sufficient capacity to accommodate them.
However, he explained that even if they are relocated, the migrants often leave the camps “probably due to their communication with smugglers.”
He explained that there is no way to stop migrants from setting up the camps, especially during the summer, as “there is simply too many of them.”
But Fazlic is more worried about the winter, arguing that “we will have no place to accommodate them” as not enough facilities have been set up for it.
There are some 1,000 migrants staying outside of any official migrant camps in Bihac, he said.
“In general, the security situation is not worrying or bad,” he said, but added that “the police are exhausted, they work under bad conditions, and this has been going on for four years now.”