Bosnia: Army sets up tents for migrants in Lipa

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Army sets up tents for migrants in the burned-out Lipa camp

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Bosnian soldiers unload tents from a truck after failure to move them to permanent accommodation Bosnian soldiers unload tents from a truck after failure to move them to permanent accommodation

Bosnian soldiers unload tents from a truck after failure to move them to permanent accommodation

Source: dpa / Kemal Softic

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the army erects tents for migrants in the destroyed Lipa camp. Because the move to a barracks and another camp failed, the migrants have to return to the camp on the border with Croatia.

FNew tents are being built for hundreds of migrants in Bosnia-Herzegovina. About 150 military personnel began building accommodation in the Lipa camp in the north-west of the country on Friday. The people should now stay in the camp, which had actually been cleared and partially burned down, 25 kilometers southeast of the city of Bihac, reported the news portal “klix.ba” on Friday.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) had closed the camp a week and a half ago because the Bosnian authorities had not kept their promises to make it winter-proof. The migrants should have been taken to a former army barracks near Sarajevo.

However, residents protested against this. The migrants ultimately spent 24 hours waiting in buses and were then brought back to the burned-out camp near Lipa. For the past two nights, they lighted small fires to stay warm in the winter cold with almost no protection.

Bosnian soldiers arrive at Lipa camp on Friday

Bosnian soldiers arrive at Lipa camp on Friday

Source: AP / Kemal Softic

The idea supported by the EU Commission to reopen the Bira camp in the local area of ​​Bihac also failed due to resistance from local politicians. The migrants were housed there before they were brought to Lipa last September because of popular protests. Because of their close proximity to the EU country Croatia, Bihac and the canton of Una-Sana are very attractive to migrants.

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Migrants fight their way through snowy Bosnia, sleeping bags under their arms.  They camp in the woods or in demolished houses

The migrants organized a protest on Friday, according to human rights groups, to raise awareness of the conditions in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Hundreds of them refused to eat and called for international help on banners. The IOM coordinator for the Western Balkans, Peter Van der Auweraert, also describes a possible hunger strike.

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Thousands of people fleeing the Middle East, Africa and Asia are stranded in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Most of them are in the north-west of the country on the border with the EU country Croatia. Many migrants have reported that Croatian border guards forced them back and that the inhabitants of Bosnia-Herzegovina were hostile to them.

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