Authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) are preparing facilities that could accommodate refugees if the migrant wave across the western Balkans turns toward that country however its logistic and organisational capacities are extremely limited and the country would be able to take in only two thousand people at the most, the Banja Luka-based Nezavisne Novine daily reported on Tuesday.
Citing an unnamed source from the BiH Defence Ministry, the daily notes that the barracks in Bugojno, Semizovac, Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Kalinovik are being prepared to take in refugees. These barracks have not been used for years and it is estimated that with some minor renovations the barracks could accommodate approximately 1,300 refugees. A further 500 to 700 refugees could be given temporary shelter in tent settlements.
The defence ministry would provide civil authorities with logistic support to accommodate and care for refugees should this be necessary.
Last week, German Ambassador to BiH Christain Hellbach warned that it could not be ruled out that Bosnia could become part of a new refugee route considering the increasing restrictions other countries along the western Balkan route were introducing following suite to the measures imposed by Austria.
Since the start of the migrant crisis, a few people have tried to enter BiH with the intention of continuing toward Western Europe.
It is estimated, however, that some refugees arriving in Serbia could attempt to continue on route to the West by crossing through Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Trebinje crossing in the south of the country and at Bijeljina in the north.
The President of the Bosnian Serb entity of Republika Srpska (RS), Milorad Dodik, had previously stated that the entity's authorities would not and do not wish to accept refugees nor would they allow refugees to be housed in that entity.
"RS does not have the capacity to provide for migrants for even one day," Dodik said commenting on the possibility of the migrant wave spilling over into Bosnia and Herzegovina. He added that he would not even accept financial assistance from the European Union to help migrants because that aid would "fast disappear while the problem would remain."