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Migrants From Pakistan, Iraq Allegedly Beaten At Bosnia-Croatia Border

Updated

Migrants sleep at a cemetery close to Velika Kladusa, a town in Bosnia close to the border with Croatia. (file photo)

Eighteen migrants from Pakistan and Iraq were injured while trying to cross the Bosnia-Herzegovina border into the territory of EU member Croatia, with Bosnian media alleging the men had been beaten by Croatian police.

Bosnian authorities on August 7 said the men were taken to local hospitals for treatment, with at least six reported in serious condition.

The incident follows allegations by rights groups, including Amnesty International, that Croatian security personnel have beaten, robbed, and violently forced migrants back into Bosnia after crossing the border in hopes of making their way into the European Union.

Bosnian officials have complained that armed Croatian police have illegally crossed the border into Bosnia while forcing the migrants back.

"We have the information to prove this, that they enter our territory armed, and footage showing what they do to migrants who cross into Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina. They beat them, take away their money and mobile phones, and return them to us," Bosnian Interior Minister Dragan Mektic told the Bosnian Faktor news outlet on August 1.

Croatian police later confirmed that migrants were blocked from entering the country, but they asserted that none appeared injured or sought medical attention.

Croatian authorities have repeatedly denied allegations that they have been involved in abusive treatment and say they are only protecting the border from illegal entries.

A Croatian government spokesman in Zagreb said the latest matter was being investigated.

Velika Kladusa
Velika Kladusa

"We have heard about these reports and are working to determine if Croatian police have been taking action at the border," the spokesman said.

Bosnia’s border authorities said the matter was being put under the jurisdiction of the state prosecutor but did not comment on specific allegations.

According to a report by Radio Sarajevo, a Bosnian patrol came upon Croatian police leading a group of migrants on the Bosnian side of the border, near the town of Velika Kladusa, late on August 6.

The report said the Croatian police, when approached, abandoned the injured migrants and ran back toward Croatian territory.

Thousands of migrants and refugees have entered Bosnia so far this year in attempts to move through the country and on to Western Europe.

Croatia has closed its borders to migrants, as have fellow EU members Hungary and Slovenia.

Authorities report that some 5,000 migrants, mainly from the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia, are camped out in northwest Bosnia hoping to continue westward into Croatia. Bosnian police estimate some 15,000 others have already managed to continue onward this year, despite the intensified police presence on the Croatian side of the border.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, dpa, Total Bosnian Faktor, The Independent, and AP
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