Teenage migrants trapped in Bosnia’s bleak forests

A hard frost coats piles of human detritus in Bosnia’s northern forests. Annexed by the Nazis in the Second World War and starved during the Balkans conflict, these bleak woodlands are once again stage to a grim drama.

Less than 10 miles from Croatia’s border, thousands of migrants are playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the authorities as they try to break out of Bosnia to enter the European Union.

“At least in hell it is warm,” says Ahmed Mian, a softly-spoken 48-year-old refugee from Kashmir. “We are living like animals in the jungle. Look around, how can humans live like this?”

It’s a good question. While most of Europe’s high streets and town squares are aglow with fairy lights in preparation for the festive season, hundreds of bedraggled men and boys are freezing here amid the landmine-strewn forest five miles above the small city of Bihać.

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