Hungary Launches 'Border Hunter' Units to Block Refugees, Bulgaria Takes Fright

Hungarian police will send special border patrol units to its southern border with Serbia to stop a stream of predominantly Syrian refugees from entering the country.

Karoly PappToday the chief commissioner of Hungary's police force, Karoly Papp, announced plans to establish six special teams made up of a total of 2,106 officers equipped with helicopters, horses and dogs.

The units, called “border hunters”, are to start work on September 15, and will standby for deployment to the Serbian border.

According to the Guardian, government spokesperson Zoltan Kovacs said that next week Hungary's Parliament would debate whether to also deploy the army to the southern border.

Hungary has recently found itself on the path of an influx of mostly Middle-Eastern refugees passing through on their way to Western Europe.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government has reacted strongly, deploying the army in July to build a 175-kilometer wall along the Hungary-Serbia border, due for completion by August 31.

The news has reportedly passed swiftly among networks of those trying to make the journey to Europe, often with the help of people smugglers.

As a result, many are reported to be making a desperate dash into Hungary while the wall is still incomplete, leading to some scenes of tension.

Earlier today, police said a minor conflict erupted while officers tried to photograph and fingerprint refugees in the southern village of Roszke, near the Serbian border.

Officers used tear gasto break up the ruckus.

The recent surge in migrant smuggling cases has also led Orban's government to propose tighter legislation aimed at traffickers.

Estimates of how many refugees cross per day into Hungary vary. On Monday, Minister of Justice, Laszlo Trocsanyi claimed it was 1,500.

Police reported that on Monday they stopped 2,330 people, including 555 children, without the proper documents. Most were Syrian, Pakistani and Afghan citizens, picked up in the Roszke area.

A day later, police said that they had intercepted 2,533 migrants.

Hungary's scramble to secure its border has given neighboring Bulgaria food for thought.

On Friday, Bulgaria's Ministry of Defense announced that it would cooperate with border police to tackle “the complicated situation in neighboring countries, and the refugee wave”.

On Monday, Bulgarian Minister of Defense Nikolai Nenchev said at a press conference that 25 soldiers would be deployed to the western border with Macedonia.

“We will take preventive measures. We will be there, we will be available as long as necessary,” said Nenchev.