Controversy has erupted in Bosnia over a government proposal to deploy military units to the borders with Serbia and Montenegro, in order to physically block migrants from illegally crossing and entering the country.
The Bosnian government has asked the defense ministry to prepare and send the president’s office a measure that would allow the country to deploy military units at the borders with Serbia and Montenegro in order to physically impede migrants and refugees from illegally crossing into the country, according to reports in the local media.
Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic, a Bosnian Muslim, said the border crossings are precisely defined and about ten are heavily used. At the same time as presenting the proposal, he announced the entry of 100 to 150 new cadets into the ranks of the border police, as well as the reinforced border control in collaboration with the police forces of Serbia and Montenegro.
Response from Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik
The current rotating president of the tripartite Bosnian presidency, Milorad Dodik, a Bosnian Serb immediately argued against the proposal. “It’s understood that the supreme commander of the armed forces is the president,” Dodik said. “And I, as president, will not permit the borders to be closed,” he stated.
Dodik said Zvizdic should find a solution to the migrant problem through dialogue with Serbia and Montenegro, and not just send the army to the border. The Bosnian Serb leader has repeatedly said he will not allow the closure of the borders, emphasizing at the same time that no migrant will be received in to the Republika Srpska (RS, the majority Serbian part of Bosnia).
In recent months, with an uptick in the number of migrants journeying along the Balkan route, the number of migrant arrivals in Bosnia-Herzegovina has grown considerably too. Most refugees are concentrated in the towns of Bihac and Velika Kladusa, in the country’s far northwest at the border with Croatia.
During the night between Monday and Tuesday, RS police intercepted and escorted a group of a few dozen migrants to Banja Luka, the capital of the RS, whose residents are showing increasing intolerance for the refugee presence in the city. The migrants were then divided into three groups, with some headed towards Prijedor, some towards Sarajevo and others towards Bihac, Info Migrants reports.