Slovenia to deploy soldiers to boost border patrols for migrants

Some 35 troops will join police in patrolling the country's southwest borders, Slovenia's military says.

    Slovenia's army has taken part in border patrols alongside police since 2016 [File: Borut Zivulovic/Reuters]
    Slovenia's army has taken part in border patrols alongside police since 2016 [File: Borut Zivulovic/Reuters]

    Slovenia's army says 35 troops will join police in patrolling borders in the southwest of the country after observing a rise in the number of migrants in the area.

    On Saturday, the army said its soldiers would bring their equipment to help the police operating in the area of the coastal town of Koper, which is near the Croatian and Italian borders.

    The soldiers are expected to deploy on Monday.

    Koper police reported apprehending 122 migrants on Friday after discovering several small makeshift migrant camps in a forested area. Most migrants came from Afghanistan and at least five minors were among them.

    Slovenia's army has taken part in border patrols alongside police since 2016 after hundreds of thousands of migrants passed through the country of two million people in a bid to reach western Europe.

    Most notably, these countries include the more welcoming Germany, which has accepted more than 130,000 Syrians since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011.

    Some migrants have also been reaching the coasts of Italy via Libya, which has been less welcoming of those seeking refuge in the country.

    Italy's hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini shut down a migrant reception centre on the Italian island of Sicily, which was once the largest in Europe.

    At its peak in 2014, the centre housed some 4,100 people.

    Last month, Italy passed a decree, spearheaded by Salvini and his far-right League party, foreseeing hefty fines for migrant rescuers which trespass into Italian waters.

    Despite this, thousands of migrants continue to arrive by their own means or are rescued by Italian authorities.

    A total of 30,510 migrants have died between 2014 and 2018 while making the treacherous journey to Europe, the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Missing Migrants Project reported earlier this year.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies