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Croatia: 400 refugees enter Croatia from Serbia

17th Sep 2015
Croatia: 400 refugees enter Croatia from Serbia

VUKOVAR-SRIJEM, (AA): More than 400 refugees crossed from Serbia to Croatia Wednesday, Croatian officials said, after Hungary sealed its southern border.

Migrants risked land mines left over from the 1990s war in former Yugoslavia as they crossed into Croatia’s Vukovar region.

“Up to this moment, about 400 people have arrived at the Croatian border and they were accepted and registered by our police,” local search and rescue chief Zdravko Colic said.

More than 250 had been placed on buses to Zagreb while another 163 were taken to an asylum center 20 kilometers (13 miles) outside the capital, he told Anadolu Agency.

Some refugees gathered at Horgos on the Serbian-Hungarian border switched their attention to EU member Croatia as a route to western Europe on Wednesday after Hungary reinforced frontier barriers with riot police and used teargas and water cannon against the crowds.

Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto later said the crossing would remain closed for 30 days.

Serbia has condemned the actions of the Hungarian police and said it would lodge an official protest.

In Bulgaria, officials said they were concerned at the number of migrants gathering in Turkey’s northern Edirne province, which shares a land border with Bulgaria and Greece.

“It is not certain where the asylum seekers gathered in Turkey’s Edirne region will go,” Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova said. “Bulgaria is monitoring developments as a precaution. A sufficient amount of troops are required to send to the border due to the influx of asylum seekers.”

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann is to visit his Croatian and Slovenian counterparts in Zagreb and Ljubljana to discuss the crisis. The refugees are expected to travel through the former Yugoslav republics to reach Austria.

Croatia’s National Security Council announced it would convene Friday to discuss the crisis.

Vukovar, Croatia’s easternmost county, was the scene of intense fighting between Serbs and Croats in the 1990s and a large number of minefields remain, although they are clearly signposted.

Meanwhile, Hungary announced it would start construction of a fence along its border with Croatia. It had earlier announced the building of a fence on its Romanian frontier out of concern refugees would seek out less protected areas to cross into the country.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban told Austrian newspaper Die Presse that he had discussed the Croatian fence with his interior minister and ordered preparations to be made.

Author: Talha Öztürk
[Photo: Refugee babies rest on a railway in Croatia’s Vukovar district after crossing the border from Serbia’s border town Sid after Hungarian authorities closed their border on September 17, 2015. Photographer: Mustafa Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]

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