|Bosnian border police and migrants and refugees on the border with Croatia. Photo: Anadolu|
Johannes Peterlik, the EU’s Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs, told media in Sarajevo on Thursday that migrants and refugees currently in Bosnia must be told that they are trying to take the wrong path to the EU.
The Austrian diplomat was commenting on continuing tensions in northern Bosnia, where a group of hundreds of and refugees have been trying to get across the border into Croatia.
“Austria will make it clear that illegal migration is not a path that can and should be followed. There are legal ways and that is what must be clear,” Peterlik told a press conference after meeting with Bosnia’s deputy foreign minister.
Peterlik said that Austria is aware that the number of refugees in Bosnia is on the rise and will do everything to support the country.
Meanwhile, at Bosnia’s Maljevac border point, border police set up a fence between them and the group of migrants and refugees trying to enter the neighbouring EU state.
Anadolu news agency reported on Thursday that groups of children were holding placards saying “Open the border” and “Help us”, while some asked for food from journalists reporting from the border checkpoint.
On Wednesday, several migrants and refugees were injured when they tried to break through a police cordon preventing them from passing the border crossing.
Migrants and refugees were also blocking the main road towards the border crossing, which was closed to traffic.
Bosnian border police spokesperson Sanela Dujkovic told media on Thursday that the situation at the border crossing is now under control but migrants and refugees will be removed from there.
“At the moment, some 150 migrants and refugees are refusing to leave but that must happen eventually, hopefully without the use of any force,” Dujkovic said, adding that border police were negotiating with the migrants and refugees.
From the start of the year up until October 17, just over 18,000 migrants and refugees were registered as having entered Bosnia and Herzegovina, many of whom are travelling on the new so-called ‘Balkan route’ to Western Europe, which passes through Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and in some instances Serbia.