Twenty migrants were arrested Wednesday after a brawl among themselves and later with Bosnian police left around a dozen injured, a police spokesman said. The fighting broke out in a shelter accommodating between 600 and 700 migrants in northwest Velika Kladusa.
Since early 2018, Bosnia has found itself as a transit stop on a new “Balkans route” used by migrants seeking to enter European Union countries.
Police officers intervened overnight Wednesday after guards alerted them to a fight between dozens of migrants, regional Interior Ministry spokesman Ale Siljdedic said. Migrants attacked police with metal bats, stones and bottles before the situation was brought under control at around 4:30 am (0230 GMT), he added. The clashes left around 10 migrants and three officers with minor injuries. A police vehicle was also damaged.
“The situation is now calm but still tense,” Siljdedic told AFP.
On Saturday, a fire in the facility left 32 people with injuries after they jumped from windows to escape the flames.
Great job by IOM BiH setting up new accomodation for #migrants after fire broke out this morning in reception centre 'Miral' (NW Bosnia) injurying 32 people. Injured migrants are transported to local hospital. Situation well handled.
— Ika Ferrer Gotić (@IkaFerrerGotic) June 1, 2019
Last year, some 25,000 migrants from the Middle East, North Africa and Asia trudged through the mountainous country in hopes of entering the E.U. through neighbouring Croatia. Most successfully passed through Bosnia, according to authorities.
Now around 3,500 migrants are housed in eight shelters, mostly in the northwest, close to the border with Croatia. Thousands of others are sleeping rough, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), who recently warned the migrants “desperately need humanitarian assistance.”
“People are sleeping in parks, in car parks, on the footpath, and in dangerous buildings,” IFRC’s Bosnia operations manager Indira Kulenovic said. “Psychological stress among migrants is high.”
In #Bosnia, hundreds of #migrants – including families with children – are sleeping in parks, parking lots and abandoned buildings. @RedCrossBH teams are supporting them, but they are stretched to their limit and more help is needed. Read more: https://t.co/urj666UGdg pic.twitter.com/EMFBlCbzVS
— IFRC Europe (@IFRC_Europe) May 31, 2019