The Mayor of the city of Bihać, Šuhret Fazlić, sent a dramatic warning that the situation with the migrants in the area could escalate at any moment in the future unless state institutions find some solution.
Fazlić said to the media that he does not know the exact number of migrants -mostly from the Middle East- who are in Bihać and other nearby cities, since they are coming and leaving on a daily basis.
“We are trying to organise some help and to make contact with the Ministry of Civil Affairs and that of Security”, Fazlić said.
He added that it is impossible to solve the issue without the participation of relevant state institutions. Fazlić noted he is afraid that the situation could become worse since migrants are breaking into homes, warehouses and other facilities in order to find a place to rest before trying to cross the border and reach Croatia in the EU.
BiH Minister of Security, Dragan Mektić, said on Monday in Sarajevo that the countries of the region have no adequate response and co-operation regarding the issue of illegal migrants.
“We in the Western Balkans have never met to talk about this problem at state level, and seek a joint solution,” Mektić told reporters.
He said that the number of migrants in BiH rises every day, and that illegal migrants are not a problem for BiH only.
“The question is to what degree we can solve this issue in BiH,” Mektic stressed.
The city of Velika Kladuša, near the BiH-Croatia border, where a large number of illegal migrants are waiting to cross into Croatia, is facing the same problem as Bihać. Citizens are trying to help them, but there is no aid from higher up (city, canton or state wise). Some of them opened their homes to persons they had never seen before and, who will probably never see again. Local imams opened the doors of mosques to offer them a dry and warm place to sleep. Some of the migrants crossed the border several times but had no luck since they were caught by the Croatian police. The procedure in these cases is to send them back to BiH. These “returnees” told to the media that, in order to illegally enter Slovenia, some migrants tried to swim over the river Kupa, but drowned in the cold water.
According to the latest BiH Border police information, from January 1st to April 15, officers found 1036 nationals from high migration risk countries while attempting to cross, or immediately after they had illegally crossed the state border. Along with them, there were another 1191 persons who gave up on attempting to cross the border and enter BiH, due to police officers’ engagement along the very borderline with Montenegro and Serbia.
Of the mentioned 1036 illegal migrants, 157 were found in January, 315 in February, 340 in March, and 224 until April 15. Besides that, out of the 1191 people, 125 were deterred from illegally crossing the state border at the very borderline in January, 309 n February, 503 persons in March, and 254 persons until April 15.
The illegal migrants come from the following countries: Syria – 312, Pakistan – 163, Libya – 118, Afghanistan – 100, Palestine – 63, Iran – 63, Iraq – 51, Algeria – 45, Morocco – 26, Turkey – 15, Bangladesh – 13, Tunisia – 8, 5 from Cuba and India, Albania – 4, Jordan – 2, Egypt, Nigeria, Somalia, and 38 persons from the Kosovo area…. / IBNA