Immigrants in BiH, a humanitarian or security issue?

Immigrants in BiH, a humanitarian or security issue?

Just a year back, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) did not interest immigrants as a gateway to European Union countries but, since Croatia and Hungary closed the borders with Serbia, it became the logical choice for them to try to reach the desired destination.

According to official data, more than 23 000 migrants entered BiH in the first eleven months of this year. A large number of them is in the immigration centers in Federation BiH. Since Croatia tightened the control on the borders with BiH, illegal migrants have to stay in one of the poorest countries in the Europe.

Following official information, it seems that everything is perfect and that situation is under control. But, according to many local security experts, it is far from the truth to say that there are credible data about immigrants in the country. The biggest problem is the fact that BiH border with Serbia and Montenegro is not controlled properly so the exact number of the illegal migrants who entered the country remains a mystery. The estimate of “more than 23 000” refers to those who were found by BiH police agencies and have been registered in the institutions. Nobody knows the exact number of illegal immigrants in BiH.

The second problem is that there is no data about the number of the immigrants who left the country and successfully crossed the Croatian border, illegally of course. The third problem is the fact that 95 percent of them do not have any identification document. BiH security agencies can only guess as to which of them is a real immigrant who is escaping the war or poor social-economic conditions in their countries or is an “immigrant with a task”, which refers to those who are radical islamists and have some kind of task to fulfill once they reach Berlin, Rome, Paris or some other city in Europe.

According to statistics information, most of illegal immigrants are from the countries that are not in a war status. About 3 000 of them are from Syria, just about one thousand are coming from Libya and the rest of them are from other countries of Middle East, which has no connections with war conditions. Also, 95 percent of them are men, just a small percent are women and statistically negligible number of children.

BiH Minister of Security, Dragan Mektić, in the recent statement for local media, said that security agencies in BiH identified “a certain number of persons among migrants, who are interesting from a security viewpoint”. Security expert, Dragomir Jovičić, said recently that the number of illegal immigrants who entered BiH is “more than 30 000” and that, at least, 10% of them are “persons of interest with regard to security”. He added that the real goal of the migrations is the “islamization of Europe” and that BiH has an important role in that process.

His colleague, security expert Dževad Galijašević, said for IBNA that the situation with illegal migrations is more complicated than security agencies in BiH want to represent to the public.

“The number of inhabitants in the villages where radical islamists, Salafists, are a majority, increased in this year. The local radical islamists provide shelter to former ISIL fighters who now have new tasks in Europe. It is not a harmless situation and the security agencies must act on this issue”, Galijašević said.

He is convinced that a certain number of Bosniak officials in the state institutions are “intentionally blind” on this situation and that the most radical among illegal immigrants are rewarded with BiH identification documents. Galijašević stated that the situation is similar to the war period, when a large number of mujahideens, radical islamist fighters, who came in BiH to fight on the Bosniak side, received the BiH citizenship contrary to the provisions of the law.

The fact that something is wrong with the security situation in BiH can be also be seen by the travel directive issued by the US Embassy in Sarajevo. The Embassy warned the citizens traveling to BiH on possible terrorist acts during the holiday season.

“During the holiday season security measures in Bosnia and Herzegovina remain heightened due to ongoing threats posed by transnational terrorist organizations and individuals inspired by extremist ideology throughout Europe.  Extremists continue to focus on tourist locations, shopping malls, airports, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, transportation hubs, and other soft targets frequented by Westerners”, says the US Embassy in the travel directive issued December 2.

For Galijašević, it is crystal clear that BiH will once again become the base for the radical islamist terrorists from various organizations and the place where they will plan the terrorist attacks across Europe./ΙΒΝΑ