Head of Croatia’s Border Police Directorate criticizes Attempts of the BiH’s police to make Irregular Migrants cross into Croatia

August 30, 2019 3:00 PM

The Head of Croatia’s Border Police Directorate, Zoran Ničeno, has said that the police registered an almost 200% rise in the number of illegal border crossings in the first seven months of 2019, with statistics showing some 9,500 such cases.

In parallel, since a flow of migrants’ started passing through Bosnia and Herzegovina, there has been an increase in the rate of detected criminal offences in this segment, Ničeno told the national broadcaster HTV on Sunday evening explaining that a rise in the detected criminal offences was also a result of the better organisation of the police work, flexibility and engagement of all police sectors in efforts to curb the inflow of irregular migrants.

For instance, the police arrested 505 migrants’ smugglers in the first seven months of 2019.

Ničeno finds it disputable that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s authorities have set up an accommodation centre for passing illegal migrants intentionally at the village of Vučjak, just a few kilometres from its border with Croatia.

He underscores that Croatia’s law enforcement authorities have already seen media footage showing Bosnia’s police officers pushing 200-300 migrants in front of themselves towards the border with Croatia in that area of Vučjak.

He criticised the attempts of the Bosnian police to make irregular migrants cross into Croatia.

The Croatian official once again dismissed accusations that Croatia’s border police are pushing back migrants to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Media outlets disseminate information that illegal crossings of the border is something normal and that migrants are always right. The attention is paid only to the humanitarian aspect of this problem that is really worrisome, he added.

He explained that the police only deter the attempts of illegal crossings into Croatia’s territory, Hina reports.

The government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) said 21,000 migrants have entered the country since the beginning of the year. The authorities said all of the country’s reception centers are full, and they denounced the growing problems of lack of food and medicine.

A total of 21,000 migrants have arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the start of the year. Pressure is increasing on the Balkan nation due to logistical and social problems from the growing migratory influx. Nermin Kljajic, the interior minister of the Una Sana canton, said the number of migrants who entered the country in the first seven months of 2019 is greater than the number of migrants who arrived in all of 2018.

Una Sana canton is located in the northwest region of the country at the border with Croatia, where the majority of migrants are concentrated while they plan their onward journeys to reach western European countries. Kljajic, citing local media, said the majority of migrants are Afghani, Pakistani, and Moroccan.

Kljajic said all of the country’s migrant reception centers are full, and thousands of refugees are on the move, lodging in makeshift shelters. He said the situation is worsening on a daily basis also due to growing problems of lack of food and medicine, and frequent protests by local residents who have denounced theft and harassment by migrants who have been unable to find shelter in reception centres, Info Migrants reports.

Since the start of this year until mid-August, Bosnian police have prevented more than 7,000 illegal migrants from entering the country. However, despite all their efforts a lot of migrants have managed to cross the border which is the result of the chronic shortage of police personnel to control the border, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s border police chief Zoran Galić said on Monday as carried by the Banja Luka-based Nezavisne Novine daily.

Precise data indicates that by 12 August, 7,650 illegal migrants were prevented from entering the country however thousands have managed to do so.

“The majority of illegal migrants come from Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan,” Galić said. Continuous pressure exists from the direction of Serbia and Montenegro toward the eastern and northeastern sections of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s border. At the same time the situation is quite complex on the border leading out of Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly in the Krajina region, added Galić.

He assessed that a cooperation agreement between border police in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia was being implemented well. He also added that no incidents had been recorded on the border between the two countries when 18 injured migrants were recently discovered, who claimed that Croatian police had used force to push them back into Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Galić said that the problems within Bosnia and Herzegovina could be resolved and that the country’s border police required urgent financial support to procure sophisticated special equipment and in personnel from other police units in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He explained that the border police are short of 375 officers for regular tasks, however, in order to efficiently protect the borders with Serbia and Montenegro, which stretch for 600 kilometres, it needs at least an additional 1,000 police officers.



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