Serbian Police Detained over 4,500 Migrants at the Borders with Hungary and Bulgaria

World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | November 9, 2023, Thursday // 11:09
Bulgaria: Serbian Police Detained over 4,500 Migrants at the Borders with Hungary and Bulgaria

Serbian police have detained thousands of migrants within two weeks as a result of daily actions in the northern and eastern regions of the Balkan country, Reuters reported. The arrests are part of a nationwide operation that began two weeks ago after a shooting that left three migrants dead.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Serbian Interior Ministry said that from October 27 to November 8, around 4,500 migrants were detained in the municipalities of Subotica, Sombor and Kikinda near the Hungarian border in the north and near Pirot in the southeast, near the border with Bulgaria. They were moved to refugee camps controlled by the government.

Police searched more than 81,000 cars and over 300 homes and seized five assault rifles, five pistols and over 1,500 rounds of ammunition of various calibers, as well as hundreds of foreign passports. Eight smugglers and 119 people accused of human trafficking and illegal possession of weapons and drugs were arrested.

"The Ministry of the Interior will persevere until the problem of illegal migration is solved and the chain of people smuggling is broken," the November 8 announcement said.

In late October, three migrants died in a shootout near Serbia's border with Hungary, a route increasingly used by human traffickers to enter the European Union.

"These are organized gangs that do not only consist of criminal members of the migrant community, but also of our citizens. They transfer people across borders and take huge sums of money," Rados Jurovic told regional broadcaster RTV. He is the director of the Center for the Protection and Assistance of Asylum Seekers.

"We found four radios that their guards use to communicate with each other if they spot our forces. We found 305 passports, of which 215 are passports of Turkish citizens, which is interesting at the moment. Of course, we also found a certain amount of medicine, generators, ladders that they use to jump over the wire fence built by the Hungarian authorities," Deputy Police Director General Dejan Lukovic told Tanjug a few days ago.

Serbia conducts joint border patrols with members Hungary and Austria, and Belgrade has pledged to bring its visa policies in line with those of the EU to help stem the flow of illegal migrants to the west.

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Tags: Serbian, police, migrants, Hungary, Bulgaria

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