In a press conference on Tuesday, the Mayor of Bihac, Suhret Fazlic, told reporters in the country’s capital Sarajevo: “An artificial atmosphere has been created here; it is as if there is no migrant crisis in Bosnia. I am standing here and telling you that there is a crisis and that crisis is escalating. I want to force state institutions to finally do their job.”
Fazlic held the press conference Tuesday in Sarajevo, rather than in Bihac, to draw more attention to the issue. He accused the central government of failing to take action. In particular, the mayor said the central government did not provide financial aid to the Una-Sana Canton of which Bihac is the administrative center, Infomigrants reports.
“Each night, 150 migrants arrive from Sarajevo,” said Fazlic.
Worrying about what would happen to the migrants holding out in camps in his town, he said: “These miserable [migrants] will be walking through the city of Bihac covered only in blankets and we are the only ones trying to help them.”
Fazlic threatened to stop helping them in order to draw attention to the problem, said the AP news agency.
“As of next Monday, we will cease to provide any help to migrants in the area of the Vucjak camp. We will let this crisis escalate and by doing this, we want to force state organizations and institutions to do their job.” According to ANSA news agency, Fazlic threatened to close all camps in and around Bihac.
A humanitarian activist Dirk Planert, who knows the area well and had been trying to provide aid in the camps, told DW at the beginning of October that following a ban on volunteers working in Vucjak, inhabitants had been left with “no medical aid.”
In October a team from DW’s Bosnian department reported that the camp in Vucjak contained between 800-1000 residents. They also wrote the EU states had already donated 10 million euros to provide better facilities but that “all of those upgrade projects have stalled due to bureaucratic squabbles and opposition from local municipalities.” The mayor of Bihac said around 6,000 migrants were in the area presently, according to the Italian news agency ANSA.