Zagreb, 5 Dhulhijjah 1436/19 September 2015 (MINA) – Croatia warned Thursday it may not be able to cope if the number of refugees crossing its eastern border rises.
Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said the country was managing with current levels of people entering from Serbia. Border officials have registered around 6,200 migrants in the 24-hour period since Wednesday, the Interior Ministry said.
“Croatia was organized and prepared for the current situation,” Milanovic said after meeting Austrian Chancellor Werner Feymann in Zagreb, Anadolu Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
“We will certainly act towards them better than some other countries, as we have seen in the last few days. But our options are limited.”
Referring to Croatia and Austria, he added: “We have to cooperate but our borders have limits. If the number increases, we are not sure if we are able to keep a record of the influx.”
Migrants risked land mines left over from the 1990s war in former Yugoslavia as they crossed cornfields and country roads into Croatia’s Vukovar and Sid region.
The government Thursday agreed to set up a coordination body, headed by Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic to deal with the arrivals.
The UN’s refugee agency has said it expects around 23,000 migrants to arrive in Macedonia from Greece in the coming days. They are expected to head north to reach the EU and a large number will likely seek to cross into Croatia after Hungary shut its frontier with Serbia and is looking to do the same on its Croatian and Romanian borders.
“The island of Lesbos has been evacuated and because of that in the next four to five days we are expecting 23,000 refugees to arrive on the Macedonia-Greece border,” the agency’s Lorenzo Leonelli said. “This means the flow of refugees will continue at a high level.”
Meanwhile, Serbian police arrested nine men on suspicion of people trafficking in Belgrade, police announced Thursday. The group is suspected of smuggling more than 400 migrants between April and September. (T/P002/R04)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)