Bosnia pizzeria owner switches to free meals for migrants

2018-06-14 05:21
Bosnian Asim Latic inside his restaurant during lunch where he serves meals for migrants, in Velika Kladusa, 400km north west of Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. (Amel Emric, AP)

Bosnian Asim Latic inside his restaurant during lunch where he serves meals for migrants, in Velika Kladusa, 400km north west of Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. (Amel Emric, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

When Asim Latic saw a migrant sitting outside his restaurant on a cold and rainy day last winter, he didn't think twice before he invited the man in and offered him a meal. And he has been doing the same ever since.

The restaurant owner from northwestern Bosnia in February closed his pizzeria to regular diners and is now serving only free meals to migrants passing through the Balkan nation while trying to reach Western Europe.

Latic's Teferic – "picnic" – pizzeria in Velika Kladusa has given out some 36 000 meals to the migrants who have flocked to Bosnia while trying to avoid more heavily guarded routes through the Balkans.

Latic's move illustrates efforts by many in Bosnia – who themselves went through a bloody ethnic conflict in the 1990s – to help people fleeing war and poverty in their own countries.

"I am not alone, people are helping," Latic said. "I haven't had any help from the (Bosnian) institutions, not a cent."

Evening meals

Bosnian authorities have struggled with the influx of thousands of people from the Middle East, Africa or Asia. Migrants travel from Greece to Albania or Macedonia and move on to Serbia and Montenegro before going into Bosnia.

Many migrants move to Bosnia's northwestern corner, where they try to cross the border into European Union member Croatia. From Croatia, migrants hope to move on to Slovenia and further West.

In Velika Kladusa, hundreds have been sleeping in makeshift tent camps on several locations. Aid groups have provided food and other assistance to the migrants, many of whom are families with children.

In nearby Bihac, authorities have allocated a former student home that was ruined in the 1992-95 war to temporarily house migrants. An official asylum centre has opened in southwestern Bosnia.

Latic said that his restaurant gives out 400-500 meals a day. During the month of Ramadaan, the restaurant has also been offering an evening meal, in keeping with the Muslim religious tradition.

At a nearby tent camp, another citizen of Kladusa, Emin Okanovic, drove up with a trunk full of bread and other food that he handed out to the migrants.

"I have lived that; I was a refugee, I know what it means," Okanovic said, his eyes filling with tears. "These people are poor, they fled carrying nothing but one bag."

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    bosnia  |  migrants

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

5 scientific benefits of owning a cat

According to science, just the act of watching cats itself can bring about positive emotions – so it comes as no surprise then, that owning a cat has a number of benefits.

 

Paws

Why we love cats
8 great natural remedies for your pet
How to clean your dog’s eyes
This special pooch inspired his brother to learn to stand again
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.