6 Middle Eastern Migrants Arrested for Raping Minors in Bosnia
More suspects arrested on drug trafficking charges from same camp
Six Middle Eastern migrants have been arrested from a camp in Bosnia and Herzegovina on charges of raping minors, according to reports.
The group of military-aged men from Afghanistan and Pakistan was charged with sexually attacking unaccompanied children who were living in the same migrant camp.
In addition to the six taken in by authorities on rape charges, four additional migrants from the same camp were arrested on suspicion of drug possession and trafficking, AFP reports.
Bosnian authorities announced the arrests of six Afghan and Pakistani migrants at a migrant camp on Wednesday, March 11.
The camp is called Bira and is situated in the north-western region of Bihac, near the Croatian border.
Speaking with AFP, a Bosnian police spokesman said that they believed the alleged migrant rapists had been involved in the rape of “several victims.”
Other individuals were also arrested on suspicion of collaborating with the group of alleged rapists.
The police spokesman also told AFP journalists that another four migrants, whose origins were not revealed, were arrested on suspicion of “drug trafficking and possession.”
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the suspects and alleged victims were all housed in a camp on the site of a former refrigerator factory.
The Bira camp is currently hosting between 1,700 and 1,950 migrants.
Among the nearly 2,000 migrants at the camp, there are thought to be between 350 and 400 unaccompanied minors, the majority being boys between 15 and 17 years of age, Pakistani satellite TV channel Samaa TV reports.
Bosnian Security Minister Fahrudin Radoncic stated a few days ago that he believed there were between 6,000 and 7,000 migrants currently on Bosnian territory, according to the online news portal Balkan Insight.
The country says it is ill-prepared to receive any more and is worried about a rise in numbers of migrants that could arrive from Turkey in the coming weeks.
He called a fresh wave of migrants a “disaster” for the country.
Radoncic told Balkan Insight that “Bosnia does not need to be a parking lot for migrants.
"The EU, especially after the Greek-Turkish major dispute, needs to respond and jointly protect not only its borders but also all other countries, so that migrants do not move towards Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and are stopped in Croatia.”
A public information officer with IOM told Balkan Insight that “current capacities at temporary reception centers for the accommodation of migrants and refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been filled.”
On Wednesday, the Associated Press (AP) reported that Bosnian police moved “hundreds of migrants who have been sleeping rough in Tuzla, to a refugee center near Sarajevo.”
According to AP, the migrants were rounded up at bus and railway stations and transferred to a camp in Blazuj.
The operation was reported as being conducted smoothly.
“Migrants carried plastic bags with their belongings as they walked calmly toward the buses lined up nearby,” wrote AP.