Migrants at the border between Bosnia and Croatia | Photo: EPA/FEHIM DEMIR
Migrants at the border between Bosnia and Croatia | Photo: EPA/FEHIM DEMIR

Eighteen migrants were injured while trying to reach the European Union across Bosnia's border with Croatia, local media and police said on Wednesday. The case has been put under the jurisdiction of the state prosecutor.

The migrants, all men from Pakistan and Iraq, were taken to a medical clinic overnight by police, Bosnian officials said, declining to give further information about the circumstances of the incident. Doctors said six of the 18 migrants appeared to have serious injuries. They were transferred to a hospital, the regional broadcaster N1 reported.

Police said they are investigating the incident and that the case has been placed under the jurisdiction of the state prosecutor. Normally, incidents involving migrants at Bosnia's borders are dealt with by local officials.

"The prosecution ... is taking action together with law-enforcing agencies to determine all circumstances relating to the event," a spokesman in Zagreb said, adding that more information was expected later in the day.

Violent border push-backs

More than 40,000 migrants and refugees have entered Bosnia since last year in the hopes of slipping across the border into Croatia and thereby crossing into the European Union from the northwestern towns of Bihac and Velika Kladusa. According to AFP, some 5,000 migrants are currently camped out in that region.

According to Bosnian police estimates, some 15,000 migrants have already managed to continue their journey onward this year, despite an increased police presence on the Croatian border.

Many of the migrants who have been unsuccessful in their attempts to cross the border illegally have accused the Croatian police of beating them before pushing them back into Bosnia. NGOs and watchdogs have reported that migrants are routinely pushed back by police, sometimes with the use of violence. 

Croatian police have repeatedly denied these accusations, but the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic minister recently conceded in an interview that police on the border were using "a little bit of force when doing push-backs."

 

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