According to the Bosnian Border Police, the number of Mideastern refugees trying to reach the European Union by traveling through Bosnia is on the rise this year. Harsh conditions in the countries of the region make them attempt crossing illegally the border with Serbia and Montenegro.
In January, the police detained five Syrians, two Afghans and two Iraqis who crossed the border illegally. In February, however, nine groups of refugees were detained – 13 Pakistanis, five Afghans, three Syrians, two Algerians, Iraqi, one Iranian and one Palestinian. On 25 February , the Borer Police in northern town of Bijeljina detained two groups of refugees near the Rača border crossing.
“The latest cases in February indicate that migrants from countries of high migration risk (travel) individually or in small groups and try to use the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a transit route on their way to EU countries,” said the Border Police spokesperson.
The detained refugees who came from Serbia are handed over to the expat affairs service for readmission, according to an agreement signed with Serbia. Director of the service Slobodan Ujić told Klix.ba that they were not sent to Serbia yet as the process is slow due to the fact that most of them have no documents .
“They need to be interviewed. It is a challenging process because it needs to be done in several different languages and we do not have enough interpreters. When that is done, the collected evidence will be used to initiate readmission according to the agreement with Serbia. They (refugees) took advantage of severe weather and crossed the border (at Raca), and then they were spotted by our border patrol. They split into two groups before the chase began, and they managed to run for some 500-600 meters. It all happened in the border area. With this evidence and (the evidence from) interviews, we think that the readmission agreement with Serbia be respected,” said Ujić.