The respondent, a 19-year-old male from Afghanistan, left on 1st March to try to cross the Croatian border and was pushed back on Friday 5th March from Croatia to Bosnia. Although the group was composed of 7 people (all men from Afghanistan), he was the only one pushed back in that moment.
The respondent recalls that the group was apprehend by six Croatian uniformed men in black clothes and balaclavas. He described them as “commando”. The transit group was identified while it was following the E71 road in Croatia, near a bridge and in a mountain landscape.
Only the respondent was caught, while the other group members were able to run away. The respondent described that the uniformed men asked him why the others were escaping, but he did not answer. He was then reportedly surrounded by them and pushed to the ground. According to the respondent, the officers then kicked and beat him with batons, with the resultant injuries being bruising and a fracture to his left arm (pictured above).
The officers reportedly took his bag with personal belongings inside. Afterwards, they loaded him into a van and brought him back to the Bosnian-Croatian border; the journey lasted between 3 and 4 hours (from 3 pm to 6 or 7 pm). According to the respondent’s description, the temperature inside the van kept changing, from very hot to very cold. There was one window in the van, but it was covered with black material, so that it was not possible to look outside. In addition, the respondent claims that the van kept on gaining speed and then suddenly braking. In order to balance and protect his broken arm, the interviewee clung to a chain that was in the van. They unloaded him at the border with Bosnia, near a road. According to the respondent’s description, it could have been the border in the area of Velika Kladusa.
Back in Bosnia the respondent reached a village, he asked for help and some Bosnian people showed him to a small medical clinic where they gave him water and something to eat. The clinic was near a small shop and a supermarket. The clinic called the Red Cross and he was brought to the hospital of Bihać, where he was treated.