Czech funds BiH border protection, fight against illegal migration

SARAJEVO, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) — The Czech government contributes with some one million euros (1.15 million U.S. dollars) to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) for border protection and fight against illegal migration, Czech Ambassador to BiH Jakub Skalnik said Tuesday.
After the memorandum-signing ceremony, BiH Security Minister Dragan Mektic stressed the importance of the donation, adding that one of the current priorities is the protection of BiH border.
The money will be used for procurement of unmanned aerial vehicles, thermal imaging cameras, drones, heartbeat detectors, and other surveillance devices that will cover several kilometers and spot persons and vessel, Mektic added.
For his part, Skalnik said that aid to countries of Western Balkans is for many years one of the priorities of the Czech government.
“We have an obligation to help the countries on the Balkan route, which is used by migrants who attempt to enter the European Union,” Skalnik said.
Mektic highlighted the need to hire 2,000 additional police officers at BiH borders in order to completely control the places with the most migration pressure.
He said BiH Ministry of Security registered 10,103 migrants who entered since Jan. 1, and that some 60 percent had already exited from the country. Some 80 percent of migrants enter from the eastern border with Serbia, originating mainly from Pakistan, Syria and Iran.
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. However, migrants have turned to BiH in recent months, trying to avoid more heavily-guarded routes and borders in the Balkans.

Photo FENA/Almir Razić/ar

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