“We are very tired, physically and psychologically”

  • Date and time: April 19, 2020 00:00
  • Location: Lojane
  • Coordinates: 41.127948394615004, 22.516692260577887
  • Push-back from: North Macedonia
  • Push-back to: Greece
  • Demographics: 12 person(s), age: A. 32 years old , from: Algeria
  • Minors involved? Unknown
  • Violence used: no violence used
  • Police involved: 2
  • Taken to a police station?: unknown
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: fingerprints taken, photos taken
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

The group of twelve Algerians in this case were removed by Serbian authorities with the use of force from Presevo camp, Serbia, to North Macedonia. This incident occured on 19th April 2020, and the transit group were ejected at the border area close to the town of Lojane.

Upon arrival in MNK, the transit group were assisted by local people who invited them to have some food. The respondent recalls, “They were nice people”. After the meal, they went to a mosque where they charged their phones. However, the manager of the building told them to leave because they were not allowed to be there.

Outside, police from North Macedonia apprehended them and took them to a camp where they took their photographs and fingerprints. According to the respondent, “the camp is between Serbia and North Macedonia, it looks like an old camp, nobody there”. By the geographic description of the pushback location and drive time, it seems this is likely to have been the Tabanovce Transit Centre. They slept at the camp for one night, and were given biscuits from the Red Cross.

“We are very tired, physically and psychologically”. 

The following day, on 20 April 2020, police told them that they would take them to have a medical assessment for Coronavirus. They were loaded into a blue van and driven for several hours. However, instead of any medical facility, the group were brought them to the North Macedonia-Greek border. The twevle people in the transit group were accompanied by two MNK officers (driver and front seat passenger).

The police opened the “door” of the fence that separates North Macedonia from Greece (see map below) and told them to go.

The transit group came back to Thessaloniki by train, where they lack access to regularised stay, stable accommodation, basic utilities or services such as a showers, water and medical health care.