“Croatian Police Followed Procedure in Stopping Illegal Migrants”

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, June 1, 2018 – Interior Minister Davor Božinović on Friday commented on the case of catching illegal migrants in the Donji Srb area during which two children were injured, saying that the police followed procedure and that their actions were justified as they acted in self-defence and the Croatian law allows the use of firearms in such situations.

“This was a truly tragic event. I am sorry, especially because children were injured in the incident, but at the same time my thoughts are with all police officers who are protecting the Croatian border 24 hours a day, preventing illegal migrations and implementing Croatian and European laws when it comes to the protection of EU external borders,” Božinović said, recalling that the Croatian border was one of the longest external borders of the Union.

Zadar police stopped an attempt at smuggling people illegally across the border near the village of Donji Srb on Croatia’s border with Bosnia and Herzegovina around 2200 hrs on Wednesday. The police opened fire at the van and two children were injured, but their injuries are not life threatening.

After two unsuccessful attempts to stop the van, the police officers set up a barrier near the Raštela village and attempted to stop the van with light and sound signals. The driver refused to stop and continued driving towards them. The officers then fired multiple shots towards the van in self-defence, after which the driver jumped out of the van and ran off. He is still at large.

Police discovered 29 foreign nationals from multiple countries in the van, including two children with gunshot wounds and seven others injured from reckless driving.

The injured children were transferred to the city of Zadar hospital and are in a stable condition, while the others received medical attention in the Zadar and Gospić hospitals, the police said.

Asked if this meant there would be no further investigation into a possible unjustified use of firearms, Božinović said an investigation was being conducted within the Interior Ministry. “I am talking about what the investigation has revealed so far. The fact is that there is an increased pressure from illegal migrations on a new route through Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Croatian police reacted in the way that was already discussed in the European Commission several months ago, precisely because of the possibility of such scenarios,” Božinović said.

Croatia has developed intensive diplomatic activities with the most important EU member states and countries on this route and is trying to explain to everyone how important it is for every country to protect its borders in order to secure lawful and sustainable migrations and prevent illegal ones, as that creates room for the development of crime and cross border people smuggling networks.

The minister confirmed that the migrants caught on Wednesday have sought asylum, namely international protection and that the driver of the van was still at large.


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