Croatia claims to have stopped just over 16,000 attempts by migrants without visas to cross the border with Bosnia since the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, Bosnia says it has halted close to 9,000 illegal migrant entrances so far this year.
Since the beginning of the year, Croatian border police have halted just over 16,000 attempts to enter the country by migrants without proper papers arriving from Bosnia, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said Wednesday.
Some 374 people were arrested on human trafficking charges in police operations, the minister said, most of whom were allegedly members of criminal organizations.
Bosnian border crossings
Meanwhile, Bosnian border police stopped almost 9,000 illegal attempts to cross into Bosnia and Herzegovina since the beginning of the year, border police director Zoran Galic said on September 12.
There were 8,463 attempted entrances in total. In 7,376 of these cases, the migrants reportedly had been previously stopped and identified in Bosnia and had documents with them in which they declared their intention to request asylum in the country.
Galic said that in the past eight months, some 11 migrant trafficking crimes had been discovered in the Zvornik area along the border with Serbia alone.
Migrants still on Balkan Route
Countries along the so-called Balkan Route have fortified their borders and increased border patrols in recent years. But there are still tens of thousands of migrants who are trying to cross through eastern European countries such as Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia to Western Europe.
In recent weeks, border authorities discovered numerous migrants trying to clandestinely cross borders in the Balkan region.
In Slovenia, in the 24 hours between Tuesday and Wednesday, police from the Capodistria district reportedly stopped 35 migrants from entering Croatia. According to a police statement, most of them were from Afghanistan (23) or Morocco (6).
Migrants hiding on trucks
On September 15, Serbian customs officials stationed along the border between Hungary and Croatia discovered 14 migrants hiding in various trucks. They were allegedly trying to reach EU countries in Western Europe. Serbian media report that six migrants had been discovered at the Horgos crossing on the Hungarian border on a Macedonian truck carrying tires from Turkey to the Czech Republic.
Four migrants were discovered on two Serbian trucks that were carrying women's hosiery and headed for Italy. The migrants, two on each truck, were discovered during a customs check on the border with Croatia. Also on the Serbian-Croatian border, four migrants were found on a truck carrying olives from Greece to the Netherlands.
In another incident along the border between Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday morning, three migrants were reportedly rescued in Zvornik while they were trying to cross the Drina river. The three had been stuck at the point where the river is deepest for hours, grasping large stone blocks to not be swept away from the current. Passers-by saw the migrants, who were then rescued by the border police and firefighters.