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news 09 Sep 15

Bosnia Told to Brace for Influx of Refugees

Bosnian authorities are preparing for an influx of a larger number of refugees and migrants after reports that refugees' routes could move from Serbia to Bosnia and Croatia.

Elvira M. Jukic, Sven Milekic
BIRN
Sarajevo, Zagreb
  Refugees in Hungary by Zoltan Gergely Kelemen MTI via AP  

Bosnia's government, the Council of Ministers, has instructed state institutions to start preparingfor an increased influx of refugees following concerns that migrants could establish new routes through Bosnia to Croatia and the EU, Security Minister Dragan Mektic said.

The main route of refugees and migrants runs though Greece, Macedonia, Serbia to Hungary.

But Drago Zuparic Iljic, from the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies in Zagreb, told BIRN that after Hungary started reinforcing its border with walls and fences, refugees may choose new routes through Bosnia towards eastern Croatia near Karlovac. From there it is only a few kilometres to Slovenia, which is a part of the EU Shengen zone.

Mektic declined to speculate on the number of people who might come to Bosnia, but the German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that as many as 10,000 could reach Bosnia in the coming period.

“Mass influxes of both refugees and migrants are possible,” Mektic said in Sarajevo on Tuesday. “We prepared a document for the Council of Ministers where we indicated which institutions should do what. There are two components. The first is security...the other is humanitarian.

“We want to be a part of the solution together with the EU but I don't see how we can solve this alone,” Mektic said.

He added that Bosnia's authorities were very aware of the danger of possible terrorist infiltration with migrants as well as the dangers of human trafficking.

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