ZAGREB, October 29, 2018 – Bosnia and Herzegovina’s border police administration called on Monday on government authorities in the country and other police agencies to undertake measures they have at their disposal and create conditions to open the Maljevac border crossing to Croatia which has been blocked for seven days after a group of illegal migrants tried to enter Croatia on that route.
After local businesses and residents in the Velika Kladuša area, who are mostly feeling the effects of the Maljevac border crossing being shut down, held a protest rally on Sunday, the border police administration recalled that the situation at the crossing was under control, however, the problem was that about 200 illegal migrants were still located in the immediate vicinity of the crossing and that was why Croatia was refusing to open the crossing to passengers and goods.
A press release sent to the media notes that the border police have done everything they can that is their legal obligation and that now it is up to other law enforcement agencies and government authorities to resolve the problem of removing the migrants who have set up a make-shift tent settlement and who refuse to leave until they are allowed entry into Croatia or are provided with accommodation in Bosnia that will be appropriate for winter conditions.
The migrants don’t want to return to Velika Kladuša where they were staying in a make-shift camp which in fact was just a ‘muddy paddock’ where they set up their tents.
That problem needs to be resolved by the entity and cantonal interior ministries and the border police can only assist in that however there doesn’t seem to be any indication that authorities plan to take any action. “We have contacted them several times with the aim of removing the migrants from the said location and offered our assistance and support in line with our abilities. In Bosnia, we have less than 2,000 officers unlike our colleagues in Croatia whose border administration is staffed with 6,500 officers and who at any given moment can rely on Croatian special forces responsible for public law and order. The Bosnian border police have not had adequate support from their colleagues not even when 250 illegal migrants on October 24 tried to forcefully cross into Croatia,” the border police said in the press release.
The statement added that a special task force at the state level responsible for monitoring the migrant crisis has not to this day made any decision regarding the situation at the Maljevac crossing.
The International Office for Migration (IOM) on Monday expressed concern over the situation at the crossing. IOM said that their mobile team was trying to convince the migrants to move away from that area however without any success.
The migrant crisis is a topic often covered by Total Croatia News. See here for further articles.