Relocation of migrants from the Vucjak camp in northwestern Bosnia will be carried out over the next three days, head of the local Una-Sana Canton government, Mustafa Ruznic, said on Monday. According to Ruznic, migrants will first be moved to Usivak, a camp in Hadzici near Sarajevo, and the media will be asked to leave the site during the moving period, for "security reasons."
Initially, the migrants were supposed to leave the camp on Monday but the process was briefly postponed. In the meantime, the police started bringing new migrants to the Vucjak camp, situated near the northwestern town Bihac.
“The relocation process will be conducted in two parts. The first part means moving the migrants out of Vucjak and the second part will include the relocation of the surplus of migrants from 'Bira' and other (migrant) centres in the Canton,” said the prime minister adding that the process will start on Monday.
He urged the reporters not to be on the site once migrants start leaving. Asked why, Ruznic briefly replied it was for security reasons.
Media won't be informed about the timing and they will be invited for a press conference once the process is over, he added.
But, ever since their transportation to a different site has been announced, the migrants objected the idea, refusing even the food provided by the Red Cross volunteers. They prefer staying near the border with Croatia and hope they would eventually continue their journey to the European Union countries. Authorities can take us from here only by using force, the migrants said.
Peter Van der Auweraert, Head of the International Organisation for Migrations (IOM) Mission in Bosnia, said he was glad thee camp will be finally shut down, which is the first step to reduce pressure on this region, mostly affected by the migrant crisis.
He called on media to be partners in the process of relocation of migrants, saying that they were humans and don't need cameras to record their packing and being transported to a different location.
The former barracks in Blazuj, near the Bosnian capital, will be prepared to accept the first migrants in three to four weeks, according to the IOM's official, and this solution will help the citizens of Bihac in having this burden shared properly.
Until the facilities are ready, the migrants will be temporarily accommodated in the nearby Usivak centre.
According to Van der Auweraert, the European Union (EU) had allocated €40 million to tackle the migrant crisis in Bosnia since the spring last year, and 92 percent of that money was spent on arranging the allocation for migrants, utility services, food and other aid.
The state budget has not increased by a single Euro for the migrant crisis and the whole amount has been provided by the international community, said Van der Auweratert.