A group of about 30 single men from Pakistan and Bangladesh got pushed back to Bosnia and Herzegovina by Croatian authorities on April, 23, 2022.
The men started their transit attempt in Velika Kladusa at 9pm on April, 19. They then slept and walked for the next 3 to 4 days in the forest. During this time there was a lot of rain, which – as they explained – is a big problem for people on the move since all their clothes get wet and thus heavy, slowing them down. After a couple of days they tried to cross a road at around 7pm, where the police caught them, demanding to ‘come and sit down’. A few of the men tried to run away, however, the police shot bullets in the air and screamed at them that they should sit down. The police men then started to take pictures of the men and searched their bodies and bags. They stole about 26 phones, several powerbanks and money.
“He took all, no give back.”
Once the police was done with searching everyone, which took what felt like 1 – 2 hours, they loaded everyone into 2 big vans. There was little space since there were about 15 people in each van, however, they had seats. They drove for about 20 minutes towards the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The respondent thinks it must have been around 10 or 11 pm. He did not really know where exactly they got pushed back, since they did not have a phone to check for directions. The police opened the doors and as soon as the men got off the vans they started hitting everyone with their feet. Some tried running away but fell down. At the border it was completely dark and only forest.
“No orientation, no mobile. Too much dark.”
After the pushback the group had to walk for about 6 hours to get back to Velika Kladusa, where they tried to enter Miral camp, but they were turned down as a result of the planned closure of the camp. Leaving them with no other option, but to go to a nearby squat. Since most phones got stolen by the police, the men did not have any possibility to reach their families in Pakistan and Bangladesh, which made them feel ‘very, very bad’