On Wednesday 13 April, 10 men from Cameroon, Guinea, Mauretania, Morroco, and Senegal left Bosnia for Croatia – hoping to apply for asylum. The youngest of the group was 20 and the oldest around 40 years old.
The respondents for this testimony (two guys, one from Cameroon and one from Guinea) said that the whole group left Velika Kladusa on Wednesday crossing the Bosnian-Croatian border. They did not remember the exact location of the crossing but they explained that they crossed the border behind the Miral camp. (“We crossed the border behind the Miral camp[the local refugee camp in Velika Kladusa]“). From the directions provided showing the crossing point on the map, it appears that they crossed the border probably between Smrekovac and Maljevac.
They related that their journey in the forest was quite long, they walked for about 50 km for a total of 4 days, during the nights they were sleeping in the woods. After four days they arrived near a rather large city in Croatia whose name they do not remember. One of the two respondents said that some of the guys in the group had trouble walking but had no other option than to continue walking.
It was about 2 in the morning when police arrived near a road where they were resting. The policemen wore a dark blue uniforms. From the respondent’s descriptions, it can be supposed that they were members of Croatian police forces. Reportedly, the six policemen identified the people on the move with thermal detectors and night vision cameras. They reached the group by firing guns into the air to scare the People-on-the-move. “They fired the guns, boom boom boom!”. The policemen approached and started beating the 10 boys, especially the two youngest group members. They tried to hide but the officers followed them and reportedly kicked them.
They were forced to sit down. In the meantime, all ten group members asked the policemen to be taken to the Zagreb camp to ask for asylum but were not listened to. They were searched and the police seized all their belongings, the phones, money, backpacks, chargers, and powerbanks that they had with them.
After a while, a police van arrived and they were crammed into the back of the car like prisoners. “They took us, locked up, like a prison”. The respondents said it was all dark inside, they had little space to move and they had no idea where they were. After about an hour of driving, they were dropped off and left in the middle of the forest, not knowing where they were or which direction they should go. It was Sunday and they walked until 1 pm to return to Velika Kladusa where they went to the Miral camp. The whole trip lasted from Wednesday 13th to Sunday 27th April.