A makeshift migrant camp in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Credit: EPA/FEHIMDEMIR
A makeshift migrant camp in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Credit: EPA/FEHIMDEMIR

A registered 19,500 migrants have entered Bosnia since the start of 2018 with the majority staying in the north-west. Over the same period, border police blocked the access of 13,000 foreigners.

A reported 19,500 migrants have crossed into Bosnia since the start of the year, as of October 20, while border police stopped the illegal entry of an additional 13,000 people, Marijan Baotic, the deputy security minister, told N1 television. Baotic said it is not possible to verify the exact number of migrants present in Bosnia since it is hard to determine how many were able to leave Bosnia for Croatia in order to continue their journey to western Europe. 

North-west most affected by migrant arrivals 

The area most affected by migrant arrivals is in the north-west of the country, in particular the region between Bihac, Velika Kladusa and Cazin, where only a few migrants are hosted in improvised reception centers while many have found shelter in private homes or are homeless. The main problem for Bosnian authorities, said the deputy minister, is that authorities in Serbia and Montenegro let migrants cross into Bosnia and generally refuse to implement the readmission agreement. 

Between Monday and Tuesday, a reported 200 migrants, after trying in vain to cross the border between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, returned by bus from Bihac to Cazin. They were accompanied by Bosnian police back to the Sedra Hotel, some 30 km away, which has been transformed into a hosting center. The migrants, including many children, spent the night between October 22 and 23 outside on a road in Bihac, at the border crossing of Izacic, in spite of the cold weather. During the course of the night, residents brought food, hot drinks, blankets and clothing. Migrants said they wanted to go to Croatia and could not understand why they were not allowed to travel. 

3,500 migrants reported in Serbia, 400 children attending school 

Some 3,500 migrants and refugees are currently in Serbia, living in several hosting centers, the local commissioner for refugees has said, adding that 419 migrant children and teens are attending school while 40 are in nursery school. The majority of migrants in Serbia are Afghan, Iraqi and Pakistani nationals, officials said. A few hundred migrants, however, are not living in hosting centers but in makeshift shelters or outside in order to be free to continue travelling to western Europe, they said.

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