BiH’s Authorities say 1,045 Migrants have illegally entered the Country since the start of this Year

Authorities in Bosnia said more than a thousand illegal migrants have entered the country since the start of the year. They said arrivals are expected to increase significantly in the spring.

Bosnian authorities said there have been 1,045 migrants have illegally entered the country since the start of this year, according to local media reports. They said there are currently 3,900 refugees being hosted in seven reception centers in Bihac, Sarajevo, Mostar, Cazin, and Velika Kladusa. About 24,000 entries were registered in 2018. Given the current number remaining in the country, it is likely that the majority of migrants continued their onward journey towards countries in Western Europe.

Increase expected in spring

A significant increase in migrant arrivals is expected in the spring. Authorities will try to alleviate the pressure on the canton of Bihac, in northwest Bosnia near the border with the EU, Croatia, and Slovenia. It was also decided that migrants who the police determine are likely to commit crimes will be housed in a detention center in East Sarajevo. Police priorities include strengthening checks at the border with Serbia and Montenegro to reduce entries, and the use of an additional 100 border police officers.

The intent to submit an application for asylum in this period was expressed by 828 persons, while only 17 of them filed an application for asylum.

Majority of migrants came from Pakistan (17.1 percent), Syria (15.2 percent), Iraq (14.4 percent), Algeria (12.7 percent) and Morocco (10.9 percent).

In the period from 28 January to 7 February 2019, 301 illegal migrants were registered by the Foreigners Affairs Service, while 243 persons declared intent to submit asylum application, while only eight of them submitted the asylum application.

At a regular session of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH’s) Council of Ministers (CoM), it was stated that a total of 23,902 migrants have been registered on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the period from January to December last year, where 22,499 persons expressed intent to seek asylum, but only 1,567 of them have applied for asylum, according to the data from the Ministry of Security on the situation in the field of migration in BiH in connection with the increased inflow of migrants in 2018.

It is further stated that the greatest number of migrants arrived from Pakistan (7,770), Iran (3,663), Syria (3,017), Afghanistan (2,780) and Iraq (2,184).

Other more represented groups of migrants originate from Libya (879), Palestine (752), Algeria (477), Bangladesh (452) and India (416).

Last year, there was a continuous increase in the number of migrants in BiH, all until October 2018, after which there was a decline in the influx.

“The new wave” of migrants should start on the Balkan route in the spring, was highlighted at the session of the Operational Group for Coordination of Action and Monitoring of the Migrant Crisis in the Una-Sana Canton.

At the meeting of the Operational Group for Coordination, a decision was made to start the activities towards the development of the Security Situation Management Strategy.

“Security assessments say that a new migrant wave will emerge in the spring of the so-called Balkan route. We need to be prepared for this situation and we must not allow a chaotic situation to be created, as it was the case last year,” the Prime Minister of USC Mustafa Ruznic and Minister of Interior of USK Nermin Kljajic agreed.

Currently, there are between 4,000 and 5,000 migrants on the territory of BiH, mainly near the cities near the border with Croatia, from where migrants are attempting to enter the European Union (EU) countries.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants passed through the so-called “Balkan route” in 2015, trying to reach Western Europe. BiH was then not part of that route. The increasing number of migrants was recorded from the end of 2017, and since January this year, over 23,500 migrants and refugees arrived through Serbia and Montenegro, compared to a mere 755 in 2017.

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