Migrants face police and soldiers at the Slovenian border with Croatia, 500 meters in Slovenia, at Rigonce, Slovenia, 23 October 2015 | Photo: EPA/IGOR KUPLJENIK
Migrants face police and soldiers at the Slovenian border with Croatia, 500 meters in Slovenia, at Rigonce, Slovenia, 23 October 2015 | Photo: EPA/IGOR KUPLJENIK

Slovenian authorities over the last few days have stopped dozens of undocumented migrants who were trying to cross the border from Croatia, police said. Most of the foreigners were Afghan citizens.

Slovenian police between Monday and Tuesday stopped 74 migrants who were attempting to cross the south-eastern border with Croatia in the area of Ilirska Bistrica, according to a police statement. A reported 10 people were apprehended in Ribnica, on the south-eastern side, police said. Security officials said most of the foreigners were Afghan nationals, followed by Pakistanis, Algerians, Egyptians, Iraqis and a Libyan citizen. One of the migrants applied for international protection while the others will be handed over to Croatian authorities, security officials said. 


Officers stop vehicle driven by Italian 

Operations in Ilirska Bistrica involved several members of Slovenia's security and armed forces. During the operation to stop the undocumented migrants, officers said they noticed many others running away from the border. Another police operation was carried out in Novo Mesto where police late on Monday stopped a suspicious vehicle with an Italian plate driven by a 38-year-old Italian man. Officers found seven passengers, including two who were hidden in the trunk, arresting three people, including a Tunisian citizen with legal documents released in Italy. 

Soldiers deployed to support border agents 

The Slovenian army has deployed 35 soldiers to protect the southern border with Croatia, at the police's request. An additional 66 were already stationed in border areas. Defense Minister Karl Erjavec said "there are units ready at any time to strengthen the presence of Slovenia's armed forces on the southern border, naturally in mixed patrols with police given that the army has no power but can help police forces." 

The Slovenian government has allocated an additional 15 million euros to protect Schengen borders and fight illegal immigration. Police recently proposed the construction of an additional barrier along the southern border, where a barbed-wire fence was erected during the 2015-2016 migrant crisis. 
 

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