Hundreds of migrants have gathered around a campfire some 100 metres off the most northwestern-border crossing to Croatia in the neighbouring Bosnia on Tuesday evening, determined to spend the cold night there while pleading for the border to open so they can continue their path toward Western EU countries.
The migrants who had gathered at the Maljevac border crossing, near the town of Velika Kladusa, want to continue their trip but Croatian border police are not letting them across the border.
The migrants lit a campfire and put up improvised tents to warm up as the temperature has fallen to some 12 degrees Celsius, while several unknown locals have provided the women and children with blankets and food.
Border police officers are trying to convince the migrants to return to migrant centres where they were staying in Bosnia, while temperatures are getting lower by the hour.
"Some 100 metres off the border between Bosnia and Croatia, a group of some 80 migrants arrived at about 12:00 pm. This number increased to about 350-400 as the day went on. There are people who fall into vulnerable categories there, women and children," Bosnian Border Police spokesperson Sanela Dujkovic said.
"There haven't been any urgent medical interventions until now," she said, but added that "we are talking about people who do not have documents needed for leaving Bosnia and Herzegovina and entering Croatia."
Dujkovic said that three migrant attempts to push through the Border Police blocks failed.
"There were no major incidents, they did not use any melee weapons," she said.
Despite all this, traffic at the border crossing was not halted.
"We, residents living on the Croatian side, are facing this problem daily. This is not just a problem in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is also a problem in Croatia," said Admir Muhic, from the nearby village of Maljevac.
"We come across them daily, and on the Croatian roads they pop up from out of the woods, cross borders," Muhic said.
But the issue is also problematic because the border is frequently blocked, he said.
"We in a way endure damage from this entire situation, while they (migrants) endure it the most. We understand the police forces, we understand them (migrants) as well, the governments. However, we need to be understood too," he said.
"Of course, we feel for them, as we were also at some point refugees, and suffered on the paths we were on. They are not interested in Bosnia or Croatia, they are interested in Western European countries," Muhic said.
This northwestern Bosnian region has become a hotspot for migrants who had entered the country through its eastern borders in the attempt to reach the European Union, their final destination. Although it is hard to assess the exact number of migrants in the Una-Sana Canton, due to their constant movement, the local institutions claim there are more than 10,000 of them in this region.