Following complaints from local residents, Serbian troops were deployed around three migrant centres in the northwestern city of Sid on Saturday (16 May) and later sent 18 migrants back to the camps, the Serbian state broadcaster RTS reported on Sunday (17 May).
According to RTS, some 70 servicemen had been deployed to keep watch over three migrant camps that are home to nearly 2,000 migrants from 18 countries.
The deployment came after local residents had complained about finding unregistered migrants in their backyards, as well as in the surrounding woods, fields and orchards. The residents said this made them feel unsafe, compelling them to seek help from the government.
Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on Sunday (17 May) that military deployment did not mean any serious problems were expected or that the use of force was necessary.
The troops were there to help citizens “feel better, safer and more peaceful,” and to prevent migrants “from causing problems,” the defence ministry quoted Vulin as saying.