During the afternoon of the 15th of August, two people-on-the-move – males aged 26 and 30 years old from Algeria and Tunisia respectively – were apprehended by four male North Macedonian police officers about 17 km from Skopje. In the previous days, the two men had made their way through the country in the hopes of continuing their journey’s north towards Serbia.
Upon their apprehension, the officers were described as having treated the two men kindly, offering them food. After some time, however, the officers loaded the two men into a small blue van with no windows and drove them south towards the North Macedonian-Greek border. The two men described that van drove them to an area of the border near Kišava, North Macedonia.
At the border, they saw another small group of people-on-the-move: four Algerian men to be exact. They also described seeing an additional seven officers – two women and 5 men. The respondents referred to these officers as “NATO” and “European Police”; they explained this description by clarifying that these officers wore black clothes with black ski masks over their faces and that they had Croatian and Czech flags emblazoned on their uniforms. The respondents also described that the officers were speaking English with each other.
According to the respondents, these officers were violent with them – kicking the group, destroying their mobile phones, taking their money, insulting them, pushing their faces on the ground with tied hands behind the back. One of the respondents was also attacked by a dog, while the officers where laughing at him. They took picture of them too, but did not ask for other personal information. According to the respondents, some of the people in the other group had tried to claim for asylum, but the police answered they have no rights for asylum in North Macedonia.
Around 1:00 am o’clock on August 16th of, the group was released. They crossed the border and returned to Thessaloniki via train.