Migrants Devise New Route to Europe Through Bosnia

Migrants board a night bus, on their way to North-Western Bosnian town of Bihac, late on June 7, 2018 at Sarajevo bus station. - African-Asian migrants make their stop in Bihac, where they rest before continuing 'the final Bosnian leg' on their journey towards Velika Kladusa, Bosnian town, on Bosnia …
ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty

Bosnian border patrol agents seized 100 migrants attempting to cross into neighboring Croatia Monday as migrants seek out alternative routes into Western Europe.

The migrants blocked at the border Monday were part of a much larger group who have been living in makeshift campsites in the Bosnian town of Velika Kladusa and are representative of a larger pattern of African, Asian, and Arab migrants heading west through the Balkans.

Over 5,600 migrants have crossed into Bosnia and Herzegovina since January, compared to just 754 for all of 2017. As Italy stiffens its border controls and patrolling of the Mediterranean waters off Libya, migrants and human traffickers have been obliged to find different paths to the continent.

The “Balkan route” into Western Europe begins in Greece and then moves through neighboring Balkan states like Bulgaria and then into Serbia or Montenegro before reaching Bosnia.

The Balkan states find themselves ill-equipped to deal with large numbers of migrants, with insufficient resources for law enforcement to address such large numbers. The same day that 100 migrants were turned back at the Croatian border, another Bosnian migrant was stabbed at a refugee center south of the crossing point.

In 2015, the year of the violent New Year’s Eve attacks in Germany, hundreds of thousands of migrants flowed westward through the Balkans with a significant negative impact on crime rates.

After German Chancellor Angela Merkel took in over one million asylum seekers in 2015, the share of violent crimes committed by migrants between 2014 and 2016 more than tripled, from 4.3 percent to 13.3 percent.

A German study revealed that 27 percent of Merkel’s immigrants were men between the ages of 14 and 30, a demographic particularly prone to violent crime.

As Bloomberg reported, prior to the arrival of the migrants the region had been in the midst of a downward trend in violent crime, which decreased by some 22 percent between 2007 and 2014. By 2017, however, the trend was reversed and violent crime in the region had increased by 10.4 percent.

A remarkable 91 percent of crimes that were solved had been committed by immigrants.

Most of the arrivals entering Germany during this migration wave passed through the Balkan route where Monday’s group of 100 was seized.

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