On August 20 a group of seven Pakistani men were deported from Croatia to Bosnia. The primary respondent for this report is in his early twenties; the group also included a boy who was either 13 or 14 years old and an older man who was around 50. The respondent believed they the group was initially apprehended by authorities because they became disoriented and had to turn the GPS navigation on their phones on, after which point he inferred that the authorities were able to track them using their signals.
According to the respondent, the group was initially apprehended in the Croatian interior after having crossed into Croatia from Bosnia on foot several days prior. The group was stopped in a forest area near the town of Donji Stupnik by two officers who were described as “commandos” dressed olive drab uniforms (consistent with those worn by the Croatian Ministry of the Interior’s Special Police Units). The two officers commanded the entire group to sit down on the ground and then demanded their phones, electronics and food from them individually, gathering all of the items into a bag. Some time after this, the group was led into a police van and were driven directly back to the Bosnian border with Croatia, to a secluded area of the border south of Bihać.
At the border, the respondent described that they encounter an additional unit of police officers wearing all black uniforms, balaclava masks over their faces, and gloves (this description closely aligns with the uniforms often worn by the Ministry of the Interior Intervention Police Units), waiting for them. Once they were taken out of the van, these officers made them sit down on the ground again. After they were told to get up individually and were searched for money – about 30 to 50 euros were taken from each person. Then they were beaten with batons. The eldest man in the group was beaten particularly badly at this point.
The officers at the border then made a fire and burned all of their possessions which had previously been taken from them, including the electronics and their shoes and jackets / sweaters. Finally, the group was ordered to cross over the border back in Bosnia.
According to the respondent, a “commando” asked where he was from; when he learned that they were Pakistani he said this was a big problem; he had fought Pakistani in the war. The group then had to walk 10 hours to Bihac without shoes.