ZAGREB, May 11, 2018 – Nearly 3,500 illegal migrants have entered Bosnia and Herzegovina this year and the authorities do not know how many of them are still in the country and how many continued their journey to western Europe, the Banja Luka-based Nezavisne Novine newspaper said on Friday.
Slobodan Ujić, head of the Department for Alien Affairs at the Ministry of Security, told the newspaper that 3,449 migrants had been registered entering the country since the start of the year.
Between 80 and 120 migrants have been registered entering Bosnia and Herzegovina every day since the start of May. Facilities for their accommodation are filled to capacity, so migrants currently sleep rough. A make-shift tent settlement has sprung up in a park across from the City Hall.
Sarajevo and the northwestern Una-Sana Canton are under the greatest pressure from migrants, while there are almost no migrants in other parts of the country, Ujić said.
Migrants mostly pass through Sarajevo to the northwest of the country in attempts to cross the border with EU member Croatia.
Ujić said that the situation on the ground was changing by the day, adding that the current situation was “a bit difficult” because Croatia had tightened up border controls, making it more difficult for migrants to leave Bosnia and Herzegovina. “We need to ensure alternative accommodation in Una-Sana Canton and relocate the migrants now staying in the park in Sarajevo from the city,” Ujić said.
The Ministry of Security said earlier they were having difficulty identifying the migrants and could not establish who many of them were and where they came from. Most of the migrants refuse to be fingerprinted because if they were caught by other countries staying illegally on their soil they would be automatically sent back to Bosnia and Herzegovina as the country they were first registered in.
Prime Minister Denis Zvizdić has called a meeting of representatives of all levels of government for Monday to discuss the migrant crisis. Ujić said the meeting would discuss two proposed solutions to the existing problems, but declined to go into detail. “I am certain will solve the problem in Una-Sana Canton and shorten migrants’ stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he said.