Croatia begins busing migrants to Hungary border

2015-09-18 19:00
A group of migrants wave as they are transported in a Croatian police vehicle, near Batina, (AP)

A group of migrants wave as they are transported in a Croatian police vehicle, near Batina, (AP)

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Zagreb, - Croatia on Friday began busing thousands of migrants and refugees to its northeastern frontier with Hungary, with at least two coachloads crossing the frontier, an AFP correspondent said.

The move came just hours after Budapest announced it had begun building a new fence along part of the border to keep migrants out.

According to an AFP correspondent, some 22 buses arrived at the border opposite the Hungarian village Beremend, each carrying around 60 people.

There they were met by around 200 Hungarian police and 50 soldiers, who allowed two of the buses to cross the frontier, the correspondent said.

After crossing, the passengers disembarked and were transferred into Hungarian buses which set off for an unknown destination, he said.

Earlier, Zagreb confirmed it had started busing migrants to its northeastern border as the country struggles to cope with thousands of new arrivals seeking passage to western Europe.

"The transport of migrants... is being organised towards the Hungarian border," an interior ministry spokeswoman told AFP.

The crowds were being transported on buses from the eastern town of Beli Manastir, near the Hungarian border, and from Tovarnik on its eastern frontier with Serbia, she said.

In Beli Manastir, a large number of police were deployed and around 10 empty buses could be seen waiting, an AFP correspondent said.

Buses that had been at the frontier could be seen returning empty, readying to ferry more to the crossing.

Over the past 48 hours, Croatia said it had registered more than 14 000 new arrivals, with officials warning that this country of 4.2 million had reached saturation point

"As of today we will start applying new methods," Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said earlier on Friday, warning that Croatia would not become a "hot spot" in the crisis.

Asked if Zagreb would begin directing some of the migrants towards Hungary, he replied frankly.

"What other choice do we have? It's legitimate." he said.

"Hungary has closed off its border with barbed wire, that's not a solution, but these people remaining in Croatia is not a solution either."

Croatia's top security body, the National Security Council, was to meet over the issue later on Friday.

Read more on:    croatia  |  migrants

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