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Locals Up in Arms in Croatian Village Over Absurd New Border Laws

CroatiaCitizens from the small Croatian town of Mijaca near Vrgorac in the Dalmatian hinterland have continued protests over the weekend, because a new law now means some residents can no longer go to church, or attend to their near-by fields…

The problem many Mijaca locals face is that for many of them their local church, or their fields are just a few kilometres away in the village of Jabuka in Bosnia and Herzegovinian territory. A new law enforcing a strict border control agreement between Croatia and Bosnian and Herzegovina, which came into effect on 1 January 2014, has created all sorts of problems and the locals are up in arms about it.

For many their houses are situated on the Croatian side in Mijaca, but their fields or vineyards are over the border just a few kilometres away in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Only locals who are registered in a 5 kilometre radius have the right to freely cross the border.

“Vinko Roso is registered in Mijaca, and his wife is registered in Makarska, Vinko can cross the border, Marica can not,” one angry local told Croatian Radio Television, adding that many locals because of work reasons would register in nearby Split or Makarska.

With the nearest shop and church in nearby Jabuka, locals say it is absurd that after 200 years they are now banned from freely crossing the border.

“If I want to go pick potatoes in my field I have to go alone because my wife can not cross,” said Mr. Roso.

The fine for illegally crossing the border is between 300 and 1,200 euros, and locals say they have written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to have the law removed and life to returned back to how it has been for the last century.

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