Bosnian region shuts border to EU-bound migrants

Authorities in Krajina in the north-west of Bosnia set up roadblocks

Construction workers work on a fence on the Serbian side at the border with North Macedonia near the northern village of Tabanovce, on August 22, 2020.
 Serbia's government has refused to comment on the construction of a fence near its border with North Macedonia, a common crossing point for migrants traversing the Balkan region. The barrier is being erected on Serbia's southern frontier, close to an official border crossing and a migrant camp on North Macedonia's side, according to an AFP photographer. 
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A region in Bosnia’s northwest has set up roadblocks to prevent migrants from entering, in protest at the rest of the country’s failure to share the load of people attempting to enter the European Union.

Police officers were deployed on the main roads linking Krajina to the rest of the country to turn away the migrants they encountered. But authorities in the neighbouring administrative regions responded by stopping the migrants from walking back the way they had come in.

Krajina authorities began enforcing their decision to ban all new migrant arrivals in the past three days. In that time, around 200 people, including women and children, were taken off buses and trains and left trapped on the side of a road near the town of Bosanska Otoka.

North-west Bosnia, which borders EU member Croatia, has long accused the central government of failing to provide any practical help.

Migrants mostly enter Bosnia across the Drina River, on its eastern border with Serbia, before traversing along to Krajina.

Last week, residents of Velika Kladusa, a town close to the border with Croatia, protested against the situation and accused migrants of theft and violence. There are also concerns about the threat of Covid-19 with the Balkans enduring a second wave.

Bosnia has become a bottleneck after other countries in the region blocked off previously established migration routes.

The EU has threatened to withdraw funding for Bosnia over its failure to provide adequate reception centres for migrants.

Amnesty International has accused Croatian police of torturing asylum seekers and attacking them with blunt objects.

Serbia has reportedly begun erected a barbed wire fence on its southern frontier with North Macedonia's side near a common crossing point for migrants.

Images of the fence were first published by Radio Free Europe, while North Macedonia's interior ministry told state media that it was set up on Serbian territory.