The Latest: Croatia says migrants deterred without force

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SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — The Latest on Europe’s immigration crisis (all times local):

5:40 p.m.

Croatian police say they didn’t use force against 18 migrants who were allegedly injured trying to cross illegally into the European Union country from Bosnia.

Police confirmed in a statement that they prevented the migrants from entering the country late on Tuesday. But they say none appeared hurt or sought medical help.

Croatian police issued the statement Wednesday after Bosnian police reported they found 18 injured migrants near the border. Bosnia’s prosecutors have said they are investigating the incident which left six men seriously injured.

Bosnian news portal Klix claimed the migrants were pushed back overnight by Croatian border guards who illegally crossed into Bosnia in the process.

Croatian police have faced repeated accusations of using violence against migrants fleeing war and poverty, which they have denied

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4:50 p.m.

Bosnian police say 18 migrants have been injured under unspecified circumstances as they tried to enter the European Union by illegally crossing the Bosnia-Croatia border.

Police said Wednesday they discovered the migrants near the Croatian border and are investigating the incident involving mostly Pakistani nationals. Officials said six men have been kept at a local hospital with mostly leg injuries.

Bosnian news portal Klix said the migrants were pushed back overnight by Croatian border guards who illegally crossed into Bosnia in the process.

Migrants stuck in Bosnia claim the Croatian border guards regularly beat them when they try to clandestinely enter the EU-member country. Croatian officials have repeatedly denied the claims.

Thousands of migrants are stuck in northwestern Bosnia hoping to move toward Europe’s prosperous heartland.

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4:13 p.m.

A spokeswoman for the European Union’s executive arm says it is assessing a request by Cyprus to relocate 5,000 migrants to other member-states.

EU Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt said Wednesday the 28-member bloc stands ready to boost financial and operational support to help the east Mediterranean island nation.

In a letter to EU’s migration commissioner, Cyprus’ Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides said the country is stretched to the point where it might not be able to help migrants in real need of protection.

Petrides said Cyprus has the EU’s highest number of first-time asylum applications per capita for the third year running.

He said nearly 7,000 people have applied for asylum in Cyprus in the first half of 2019.

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