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Bosnian Border Police Deny Housing Migrants In Cages After Video Emerges


Bosnia has become a key transit country for migrants from Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa hoping to reach the European Union. (file photo)

Bosnian border police have denied mistreating migrants after activists broadcast a video they say shows children and others being held in cages at a border facility in the Balkan nation.

The police said in a statement on April 23 that the video, released by the group "Are You Syrious," was misleading as the facility at the Klobuk border crossing is only a temporary detention center for illegal migrants.

"The border police of Bosnia and Herzegovina deny the inhumane treatment of migrants at IBCP Klobuk in the premises we have at our disposal," they said in a statement.

"The premises are meant for shorter stays of up to six hours, and the migrants did not spend more than two hours there," they added.

A video of Iraqi migrants, including five children, being held at a border holding facility in what appeared to be cages was released earlier on April 23 by the pro-migrant group.

Police said the facility, which received funding from the European Union, was not a "classical" building and therefore does not have regular walls, but instead fence-like dividers.

Makeshift Camps

The center, located on the border with Montenegro, acts as a temporary stop for illegal migrants before they are deported.

"They [the facilities] are air-conditioned and heated, under video surveillance, with daylight and sanitary conditions, and the migrants were not locked in them," the police said.

Bosnia has become a key transit country for migrants from Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa hoping to reach the European Union.

More than 23,000 people trudged through the mountainous Balkan state last year in a bid to slip across the border to Croatia and move on into other EU countries.

But Bosnia has its own economic and political problems, and many Bosnians have not been eager to host the transient visitors.

The EU has provided some aid to cope with the migrant influx, but Bosnia has been slow to open reception centers and many live in makeshift camps.

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