“When you go in Croatia you cannot turn back, you should continue also if you break something.”

  • Date and time: April 28, 2022 16:00
  • Location: In the Una Sana park, close to Racic
  • Coordinates: 44.739186198473, 15.962747850324
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 4 person(s), age: 20, 22, 24, 26 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, deprivation of sleep, detention in awful conditions
  • Police involved: Special Croatian police (5), Croatian police (5/6). In total 4 cars and 11 policemen.
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, no translator present, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On Thursday 28th April 4 men from Afghanistan, aged 20, 22, 24 and 26, were deported by the Croatian police to Bosnian territory, in a place in the jungle 4-hour walk from Bihac between here and Lipa camp.
The transit group left Velika Kladusa on Monday 25th April at 10 pm and walked for an hour and a half towards the border. At the point where they had planned to pass, however, they saw policemen accompanied by dogs and so they decided to change direction.

“And then we walked again for like one hour and went a little bit downstair to another way and we passed from there. We were scared a lot ’cause there were lot of cameras and electric cables, if you touch the fence or the cables they record you “.

They crossed the border south of Velika Kladusa in an area where there were numerous electrical cables. They crawled under cables or skipped over them.

“We are not able to broke the cables. If we break the cables they are going to record us and if after the police catch us they beat us even more cause they understand that we broke the cables. But we didn’t break the cables. ”

The interviewee explained to us that, walking exclusively at night to take advantage of the darkness and thus be less traceable by the police, near the border they walk bent down to see the cables trying to locate them in the darkness.

“Always near the border we have to try to do like this. It’s very hard, very slow, you cannot speak. It very hard to pass the border “.

After crossing the border they walked for 4 consecutive days in the forest, moving only at night and sleeping only 5 hours a day.

“Lot of dangerous things in the forest. It’s very hard, it’s very busy the forest “. The four people have cuts on their hands due to the very tangled forest. “I fell down and I hurt my knee but I didn’t know where I eas putting my feet!”.

In fact, halfway through the trip the interviewee fell twisting his knee but had to continue. During the interviewed moment, the knee is very swollen and the people-on-the-move struggled to walk presenting a lot of pain.

“When you go in Croatia you cannot turn back, you should continue also if you break something. You cannot also bring lot of things because it is too heavy “.

The interviewee explained that regardless of the length of the journey, you can take few things to the forest. For four days the transit group had only two pieces of bread, two bottles of water and some canned food each. Even for clothes, you can only bring one change to use once you arrive in the first Croatian city. This fact is a huge obstacle considering that it is cold in the forest and you are often forced to walk in wet clothes.

“You are not allowed to put he light or the fire cause you are always scared from the police, you have to go to dark”.

In the four days, they walked they also crossed several mountains and forded rivers. The transit group also crossed one with the water reaching their hips, continuing to walk with wet shoes and pants

“If it’s wet or dry you just keep going”.

The destination was a Croatian city from which to take the train to Riejka. Unfortunately, they do not remember the name of the city due to the different Croatian names. Just 20 minutes from their destination they were caught by the police.
The interviewee said they were probably detected by the cameras or microphones that are often positioned at the edge of the forest.
At 4 am on Thursday 28th, 5 policemen in black uniforms arrived, members of the Croatian special police. The policemen then called a team of the Croatian police who took them to the police station.
Here a policeman told them to sleep in the car but soon he started moving the car to prevent them from resting.

“After ten minutes he arrived and started to move the car to not let us sleep”. From 4 to 8 am they were subjected to the continuous movement of the car after which they were taken to the police station where they were searched. The police seized phones and money and prevented the people-on-the-move from changing even though they were still wet. After a while, they returned the change of clothes and were locked in a tiny and very dirty room with a bottle as a toilet.

“If we had the phones we should take some photos but we didn’t have anything. It was a very bad situation there “.

The transit group very hungry and asked for some water and food but were not listened to.
They were kept inside this room until 1 pm, after which at 2 pm they were loaded into the car and taken to Bosnian territory about 4 hours from Bihac. From where they were deported they walked to Bihac where they took a bus to Velika Kladusa.