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Eighteen migrants hurt trying to cross Bosnia-Croatia border - officials

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SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Eighteen migrants were injured while trying to illegally reach the European Union across Bosnia’s border with Croatia, Bosnian officials said on Wednesday.

The migrants, all men from Pakistan and Iraq, were taken to a local hospital overnight by police, the officials said, declining to give further details. Doctors said six of them appeared to have serious injuries.

More than 40,000 migrants and refugees have entered Bosnia since last year in the hope of crossing from the northwestern towns of Bihac and Velika Kladusa into Croatia and thence western Europe.

Many have accused Croatian police of beating them before turning them back, allegations Croatian police have repeatedly denied.

The police were looking into Wednesday’s incident, a spokesman in Zagreb said.

“We have heard about these reports and are working to determine if Croatian police have been taking action at the border,” he said, adding that more information was expected later in the day.

Bosnian border police said that the case had been placed under the jurisdiction of the state prosecutor. Incidents involving migrants at Bosnia’s borders are usually dealt with by local officials.

“The prosecution …is taking action together with law-enforcing agencies to determine all circumstances of the event,” a spokesman said.

Bosnia, which is not an EU state, was largely bypassed by incomers during Europe’s refugee crisis, which peaked in 2015. It has seen a sharp increase in migrant arrivals since the following year, when EU members Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia began closing their borders.

(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; editing by John Stonestreet)

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