Mustafa Ružnić, Prime Minister of the canton of Una Sana in Bosnia-Herzegovina, has called on Italy to help stop the flow of migrants in the Balkans as tens of thousands continue to pass through.
Una Sana, located in the north-west of the non-EU country, is one of the areas most affected by mass migration as it lies on the border to Croatia, which as an EU member-state marks one of the bloc’s common external borders.
According to Prime Minister Ružnić, at least a hundred thousand migrants have passed through his region in the last two years alone.
In an interview with Italian newspaper Il Giornale, he warned that the “over 100,000 migrants are largely illegal and if we look at their journey to [the EU], 85 per cent have gone to Italy and only 15 per cent to Austria, Germany, and other EU countries.”
He added that the only way to stop the influx was to close the Bosnian eastern border with Serbia — another non-EU country — saying: “We can do this in two ways: the first is to mobilise the resources available to our police agencies by sending 2,000 agents to the border to seal it and block arrivals. The second is to employ the army, but it could create problems with Belgrade,” referring to the seat of the Serbian government.
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Tensions in Bosnia are high as many locals are angered over the presence of the migrants. Ružnić said the tensions are due to a huge surge in crime.
“Due to the constant and increased influence of migrants, criminal activity has increased with over 4,000 crimes in the last three years including theft, private house fires, and even more serious crimes. That’s why citizens are reacting through street protests,” he said.
Of the 100,000 migrants that have passed through his area, Ružnić suspected that just ten per cent were legitimate refugees and that thirty per cent may have criminal or even terrorist backgrounds.
The call for help comes just months after Bosnian security minister Fahrudin Radoncic warned prior to the Chinese coronavirus outbreak that as many as 100,000 migrants could head into Western Europe from the Balkan region.
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