RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A clash between migrants at the Serbian-Hungarian border left one dead and seven others injured. But it also means that armed migrants are marching on the Balkan route toward Central Europe.
Serbian authorities are still searching for a gang of migrants who fired shots in a forest near the Hungarian border early Saturday morning. So far, authorities have only managed to arrest a 26-year-old Afghan who is being held on suspicion of murder and attempted murder.
One person was killed and seven injured in the clash between Afghan and Pakistani gangs. Those seven people were taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds. A 16-year-old Iranian girl required immediate surgery, and her condition is currently stable.
#Serbia– Serbian media reported that the shootout occurred between Afghan and Pakistani migrants most likely over human trafficking from the area to European Union member #Hungary.
— Mete Sohtaoğlu (@metesohtaoglu) July 3, 2022
People living in Subotica, south of the Hungarian border, and the surrounding area remain tense due to the events and believe they are no longer safe, Hungarian state broadcaster M1 reported.
According to media reports, police continued to patrol the Subotica district where the clashes took place on Sunday. The forest area remained closed to the public while investigators examined the scene.
Authorities did not describe what caused the shoot-out, but local media said it occurred between Afghan and Pakistani migrants, most likely over human trafficking from the area to Hungary, a member of the European Union.https://t.co/8nWNh4PQYx
— Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (@RFERL) July 2, 2022
The clash angered many locals, who began a peaceful demonstration Saturday night calling on authorities to take immigrants gathering in the area to a reception center, fearing a repeat of the clashes.
“How can I sleep peacefully after an incident like this?” asked one resident. “I never know when someone will come out of the cornfield and attack me with a gun. ” I don’t dare go out to check when my dog barks,” she added.
The migrants also reportedly fired at police, prompting Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin to rush to the scene and authorize authorities to use live fire.
The police launched a search for the perpetrators. All the migrants in the neighborhood were taken to the police station and interrogated; one was handcuffed in front of M1 cameras. Meanwhile, there were reports that the Serbian gendarmerie had arrested a wanted terrorist, but no further information was available.
Local residents say they are living in fear following a deadly shootout between gangs of migrants in a forest at the border of Serbia and Hungary over the weekendhttps://t.co/ThPUJMsqmE
— Dan Lyman (@realdanlyman) July 5, 2022
Tensions remain high, however. In a statement released Sunday, Serbia’s Interior Minister confirmed that “a 26-year-old Afghan was apprehended in a swift and effective operation in Subotica. He is suspected of murder.” On Sunday morning, residents again heard gunfire, this time from the forest nearby Kelebia, prompting authorities to return to the scene.
However, the shooting also highlights that on the Balkan route, armed groups of migrants are on their way toward Central Europe. People who have no qualms about using the deadly force of arms.