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Bosnia struggles to cope with arrival of thousands of migrants


SARAJEVO/BIHAC Bosnia is struggling to cope with the arrival of thousands of migrants and refugees, many of whom are sleeping in parks in the capital and other towns as they seek passage into western Europe.
The country's asylum centre has 200 beds and 80 to 150 people have arrived each day this month, Security Minister Dragan Mektic said on Monday.
About 4,000 people from Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Algeria and Afghanistan have entered Bosnia this year compared with 755 in 2017 and up to 1,500 are stuck there. Many have faced perilous journeys."I was sent back from Croatia six times,"said Omar from Iraq, who arrived in Bosnia with his younger brother after spending two years in Greece. Omar declined to give his last name.
"I must get to Germany because all my family is there,"said the 19-year-old, echoing many others who spoke in the empty old building in Bihac near the Croatian border where he stayed.
More than a million migrants came to Europe in 2015. The so-called Balkan route into western Europe via Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and Serbia was shut in 2016 when Turkey agreed to stop the flow in return for EU aid and a promise of visa-free travel for its own citizens. (REUTERS)

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