Three migrants were killed and one injured on October 27 in an exchange of gunfire near the Serbian settlement of Horgoš, in the border zone between Serbia and Hungary.
The police blocked access to the Bačka region where the shooting occurred.
It is thought that the incident was the latest clash between two groups of migrants over who should collect payments for illegal border crossings. The area is within the border zone and reports of violence there have become commonplace.
It is not yet clear who actually took part in the gunfight.
Clandestine migrants reportedly make use of abandoned buildings set in a former agricultural estate, also named Baka, as shelters while attempting illegal crossings of the Hungarian border at night.
According to a Serbian NGO, criminal gangs are competing for control of the area as they try to smuggle migrants into the European Union via the so-called Balkan land route.
Reportedly, there are thousands of illegal migrants present in the Baka area, hoping to enter the EU with the help of people smugglers.
A substantial police force is said to be on the scene searching for the perpetrators and monitoring the surrounds.
Although the incident occurred outside of Horgo’s inhabited region, local residents said they were worried after hearing persistent gunfire.
Some claimed they kept their children out of school or day-care centres because they were scared.
Reuters reported that Serbian police figures reveal a rise in unauthorised crossings by migrants, predominantly young men from the Middle East and Afghanistan, on Hungary’s southern frontier with Serbia.
According to AP, Serbian police have raided the border area several times in the past few months. In those raids, they have apprehended hundreds of migrants, arrested people smugglers and discovered numerous weapons in the forested parts of the region.
Hungary takes a firm line against illegal migration and has extensive border controls, including a steel border fence.
Zoltan Kovacs, the international spokesman of the Hungarian Government, said on X: “Hungary has been repeatedly warning the EU that the rising rate of violence and terror committed by migrant gangs is becoming more and more prevalent at our borders, yet it seems they want to stay blind to the issue.
“I think it should be high time for Brussels to realise, it’s not quotas and migrant camps we need, but a quick and organised effort to protect our borders and ensure the safety of our citizens,” he said.
❗️More trouble at our Southern border. According to reports residents of Horgoš, Serbia have been hearing continuous gunfire since 4 a.m. The uncertainty was palpable as gunfire persisted around the village for hours, making it feel like a “small-scale war”.
❗️Police confirmed… pic.twitter.com/D8HjGz58au
— Zoltan Kovacs (@zoltanspox) October 27, 2023