Migrants to Europe dying in gun battles and car crashes
Since the beginning of this year, the migrant route through the Western Balkans into the EU has become even more treacherous due to the deadly exchanges of gunfire between smugglers and fatal car crashes. Despite this, the number of arrivals continues to rise.
The gun battle last week between rival gangs left at least three people dead, most likely Afghans. A few hundred metres from the Hungarian border fence, derelict Serbian farm buildings were the scene of the shootings.
There has been an increase in violence on Hungary’s southern border with Serbia due to a turf war between Moroccan, Afghan, and Syrian gangs.
Police have been called upon to restore calm in Horgos and Hajdukovo, as well as the city of Subotica on the Serbian border. Smugglers accuse police on both sides of the border of colluding with them.
Slovak and Austrian governments have complained to Hungary that so many migrants are reaching their borders through Hungary, despite the heavily fortified fence, daily detentions, and Viktor Orban’s harsh anti-migrant rhetoric.
“Sometimes the agents [the smugglers] are very cruel, very angry, and they beat us,” said Sadar, a 33-year-old former Afghan army officer. Then there are the times when they are kind, bring us food, and offer us good accommodations.”
In the scrubland on the Serbian side of the Hungarian fence, I met him near a group of derelict buildings. After a grueling 25-day forced march across Bulgaria, he said he just arrived by bus from Pirot on the Serbia-Bulgaria border.
After purchasing a through-ticket from Istanbul for $10,000 (£8,250), he came to Germany.
This video shows smugglers berating and beating terrified Afghans who attempted to cross the fence without paying them. Subotica was also the scene of a gun battle earlier in the video.