Ro­ma­nia beefs up border con­trol to dis­cour­age mi­grants

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Ro­ma­nian border po­lice of­fi­cer Mar­ius Stu­paru is driv­ing through pour­ing rain in an SUV, mon­i­tor­ing for any sign of mi­grants try­ing to en­ter the coun­try from Ser­bia and Hun­gary.

While Hun­gary has erected ra­zor-wire fences on its bor­ders to try to keep out mi­grants, Ro­ma­nia is re­ly­ing on man­power backed by tech­nol­ogy for border con­trol in a re­gion stretch­ing from Calafat in the south­west to fur­ther north in Beba Veche.

Border guards told The As­so­ci­ated Press this month they are us­ing he­li­copters and boat pa­trols on the Danube River, heat-sen­si­tive equip­ment, cam­eras on watch tow­ers and de­vices used to de­tect heart­beats un­der trucks.

Stu­paru is on the front line of this ef­fort near the town of Beba Veche as he scans for mi­grants from Syria, Afghanistan and else­where.

“This is the point where all mi­grants want to cross ... but the Ro­ma­nian border po­lice is here and has suc­ceeded to stop all their at­tempts un­til now,” he told the AP.

Ro­ma­nia, which has a 547-kilo­me­tre land and a river fron­tier with Ser­bia, has in­vested heav­ily in border con­trol over the past year to pre­vent mi­grants il­le­gally pass­ing through the coun­try on their way to Western Europe. Ro­ma­nia also has a long border with Hun­gary, but the only area of con­cern to border of­fi­cers is the south­ern part of it.

Mi­grants have proved in­ge­nious in their some­times life-threat­en­ing at­tempts to il­le­gally en­ter Ro­ma­nia. They hide un­der trucks, take the short but per­ilous jour­ney across the Danube or sim­ply walk un­der cover of dark­ness from Ser­bia into Ro­ma­nia..

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