SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — The Latest on the flow of migrants to Europe (all times local):
Greek authorities say they have arrested 5,633 people, mostly migrants, so far this year for trying to fly out of the country with forged identity papers — with sharp increases in arrests at key airports.
Police said the largest number of arrests was at Iraklion airport on Crete, where 1,511 people were caught compared with 666 in all of 2017.
Another 1,419 were caught at the major tourist airport of Santorini, again way more than last year’s 426.
Tens of thousands of migrants entering illegally from Turkey and seeking to reach more prosperous European countries have been trapped in Greece since a series of Balkan border closures in 2016.
Despite an agreement between the European Union and Turkey to stem the flow, thousands still reach Greece.
Macedonia has extended the state of emergency at its southern and northern borders until June 2019 in an effort to reduce illegal border crossings by migrants.
Parliament approved the measure for the borders with Greece and Serbia because of increased migratory flows.
Balkan states closed their borders in early 2016 to migrants heading from Greece to Europe’s prosperous heartland. But Macedonian police say more than 6,600 illegal crossings of the country’s borders were recorded in the first half of 2018.
Police teams from several EU nations are helping their Macedonian peers to patrol the borders.
Macedonia first declared a state of emergency at its border areas in August 2015 after tens of thousands of transient migrants illegally entered the country.
Some 150 migrants will be transferred back to the Bosnian capital Sarajevo by bus after they were not allowed to get off a train in the northwest of the country, local authorities said Friday.
The migrants, who were seemingly looking to cross the border and get into European Union member Croatia, had spent hours stranded on the train in the town of Bihac.
The migrants arrived early Friday but the authorities in Bihac have been directing migrants to other areas in Bosnia, saying they cannot accommodate any more people. Last month, about 100 migrants who arrived on a train from Sarajevo, were also transferred back.
Bosnia has been struggling with the influx of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa or Asia. Migrants have turned to Bosnia for a passage to the West to avoid more heavily guarded routes in the Balkans.
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