BELRADE, Serbia (AP) — One man was shot and wounded and a number of others were detained following reports of a clash between migrants in a northern Serbian town on the border with Hungary, police said on Friday.
Police said they found a 20-year-old man shot twice in the chest after responding late Thursday to calls from Horgos residents that groups of migrants were shooting at each other in the town. Six others were also found at the scene.
The incident comes as the numbers of migrants trying to reach Western Europe through the Balkans have grown considerably in the past months. Migrants come to Serbia from North Macedonia and Bulgaria before trying to cross to European Union member states Hungary and Croatia.
Hundreds of migrants are believed to be camping on Serbia’s border with Hungary, making numerous attempts to cross a wire fence at the border, mostly with the help of people smugglers. Migrants are often pushed back by Hungarian police and spend months in the area before managing to reach Western Europe.
Serbian police said they have launched an operation, also with the help of drones, to detain all those involved in Thursday’s shooting incident and in migrant smuggling attempts.
Border police chief Mile Jandric later said police had found some 600 irregular migrants during a sweep of the area.
“The individuals who participated in the shooting yesterday have been identified and firearms have been found,” Jandric said, according to a police statement.
Serbian media reports said surveillance videos from Horgos showed large groups of men carrying automatic weapons passing through the town on Thursday evening in the direction of the border with Hungary.
Most migrants passing through the Balkans come from Afghanistan and Syria, while others come from countries in the Middle East, Africa or Asia. Serbia, Hungary and Austria have recently announced a joint effort to curb migration through the region.
Follow AP’s coverage of migration at: https://apnews.com/hub/migration