This weekend, several Hungarian and Serbian media outlets referred to a daily newspaper of Pristina, Koha Ditore (ALB), as having specific information on the illegal border crossing case that happened earlier this month. A Serbia-based Hungarian website, Magyar Szó (HUN), wrote that, according to Koha Ditore, Ismet R., suspected of smuggling a group of Kosovo Albanians, was arrested in Kosovska Mitrovica. Most of the news reports mentioned that 15 people drowned in the Tisza River as they were trying to cross the border, but the only adult survivor, Agron Rama, admitted that the group consisted of some 19 people (SRP, ENG).
According to one of the first reports (HUN), published by a southern Hungarian news site Délmagyar.hu (HUN) about the case of 15 illegal immigrants disappeared in the Tisza River at the Hungarian-Serbian border, a member of the group who tried to cross the river, father of a 2-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl, was the one to call the police from a public payphone in the border village, Röszke, at dawn on Oct. 15.
Csaba Bálint, a blogger with Serbia Insajd (HUN), commented on the case, using the report of Délmagyar.hu, and also proposed to start an investigation personally on the relations between Hungary and Kosovo:
[…] Child, child, help!
That's what the Kosovo Albanian guy, whose children almost froze to death on the bank of the Tisza River, was repeating, when he was trying to escape to the EU one night. If somebody isn't familiar with the story, I'll retell it in a nutshell. […]
The weirdo had gone by that he would pay the human smuggler well, it's a trendy profession there, and what would be, would be, he would step into the new world at Szeged. He hadn't reckoned with the fact that cold rain would fall on his kids at night, that they would be worn out because of this irregular forest hike. When our man saw how big the trouble was, he left the children back in the October rain, and went to ask for help. […]
The children hardly breathed when they found them. A 2-year-old and a 3-year-old, I'm just mentioning that! They were totally run cold. One child of the cross-border violator mister had fallen into a coma, but got better since then. They came off with a whole skin, but the story is sad. Sad and makes you wonder. At least some questions come up with it.
What's the reason for that from the independent and free Kosovo Republic, hundreds of independent and free citizens are escaping? Probably, it's not easy to live in a ‘democracy’ built on delinquency? Tell another independent country in Europe from where dozens of free people are coming illegally every week! Probably, the states that urged to recognize a Columbia of the Balkans, hereafter are not working so hard anymore on making the country a country? If a 29-year-old man with two little children is heading off to the forest at night in the middle of October, then I have to say: no.
In the next episode we'll look at what Hungary, the big European friend of Kosovo, has done so that the people living there wouldn't have to escape to the West. […]
Balkan Insight reported that investigations have been started by an EU rule of law mission, EULEX, Kosovo police and the Hungarian authorities. According to the website, migrant family groups had to pay €6,000 to €8,000 to get to Hungary. Contrary to the media referring to Koha Ditore, Balkan Insight emphasized, no arrests have been made yet.
By Monday, Magyar Szó reported (HUN) that a body of one man was found on the Hungarian border of the Tisza River, and on the Serbian border bodies of two women were found. One of them was Agron Rama's wife and the mother of his children.
Gábor Nagy, a Hungarian immigration officer, also commented (HUN) on the case on his blog, showing the same incomprehension of why Albanians escape so desperately from Kosovo:
[…] Of course in cases like this the question can always be raised, if the parents are so careless as to start off with babies to the ‘big world’ or the situation is really this horrible in Kosovo? Though it should be mentioned, nobody is after them from Kosovo, as they ‘achieved their independence.’ At least on paper. And that also can't be forgotten that these people are always helped by human smugglers for weighty Euros. But if we consider that it's not even to Hungary where they want to escape, then I have a negative stance on the things, too.