Serbia has deployed troops near a town not far from the border with Croatia, where hundreds of migrants hoping to reach the European Union are located.
In a statement issued Saturday, the Serbian Defense Ministry said President Aleksandar Vucic sent the troops to "secure" three migrant camps near the western town of Sid, where about 1,500 people, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, are being housed.
Vucic said he ordered the deployment to protect the local population from alleged harassment and robberies committed by the migrants.
He told TV Prva that, after a state of emergency imposed to fight the coronavirus spread in Serbia was lifted earlier this month, the migrants started venturing outside the camps, committing "petty crimes and illegal entries into houses."
"Because of that, people are feeling unsafe," Vucic said.
There are an estimated 4,000 migrants stranded in Serbia, one of the main transit routes through the Balkans and on to the European Union for people fleeing wars and poverty.