Europe

Migrant crisis: Croatia mines warning after border crossing

Landmine in former Yugoslavia taken 17 August 1992
Image caption Croatia's de-mining agency has stressed that areas where mines remain are clearly marked with warning signs

Migrants are being warned of the dangers of landmines left over from the 1990s Balkan wars, as they try to get to northern Europe via Croatia.

Croatian de-mining experts have been sent to the border area in the east to identify suspect minefields.

Nearly 60,000 suspect mines are believed to contaminate a 310 sq mile (500 sq km) area across Croatia.

Migrants are seeking alternative routes into the European Union, a day after Hungary sealed its border with Serbia.

Several hundred people have already managed to get into Croatia after crossing Serbia's western border on foot.

But Croatian citizens have been warning them of the dangers of landmines on one Facebook page entitled "Dear refugees: Welcome to Croatia".

A map illustrating the location of suspected mines has also been posted highlighting the danger spots near the eastern border.

Image copyright Facebook
Image copyright Facebook

But Croatia's de-mining agency has stressed that areas where mines remain are clearly marked with warning signs, according to AFP news agency.

With Hungary effectively sealed off, Croatia has emerged as a likely alternative route to Austria via Slovenia.

Croatia's prime minister on Wednesday said he would allow free passage across his country for migrants seeking to travel onwards to northern European states.

"These people are here... they do not want to come to Croatia or Hungary either and that is why I do not understand where is the problem of letting them pass through that country," Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said.

More than 500 people have been killed by landmines since the 1991-1995 war between Croatia and Serbia ended, according to the Croatian Mine Action Centre (Cromac).

The country has since been deemed mine-safe in terms of infrastructure and tourism, but nearly 1% of Croatian land is still believed to be scattered with mines.