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Hungary fortifies its borders

World | Mar 21, 2017
Hungary's defense minister inaugurated a small military base yesterday on the country's southern border for soldiers patrolling to prevent the entry of migrants.

Istvan Simicsko said the base built with the help of Austrian soldiers would provide "worthy" conditions for the 150 troops to be stationed there.

"The defense of the border so hundreds of thousands won't march across the country, deserves total respect," Simicsko told the soldiers. "Our most important common interest is the protection of the Hungarian citizens, our family members and civilians."

The Hercegszanto complex, about 220 kilometers south of Budapest, was constructed from 90 containers, and is the last of four bases built since January for soldiers patrolling the Serbian border in Bacs-Kiskun county.

They will sharply cut soldiers' commute to the border zone for the patrols carried out jointly with police, Simicsko said.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said earlier a new fence being built on the Serbian border equipped with surveillance tools would withstand even a major surge of migrants, which Hungary anticipates this year - partly because of the deteriorating deal between the European Union and Turkey to prevent them from reaching Greece.

"This will be a fence that will be able to block the path of even the largest crowds arriving from Turkey," Orban said.

"So in Austria and Germany, people can sleep soundly, because Hungarians will be protecting Europe's external borders."

Hungary first built fences on the borders with Serbia and Croatia in late 2015, when nearly 400,000 people traveled through the country on their way to Western Europe.

Several aid groups, including Doctors Without Borders, have denounced numerous cases of migrants returning to Serbia from Hungary with dog bites and injuries from reported beatings by border patrols.

ASSOCIATED PRESS



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