A transit group of 9 People on the Move – 8 men from Bangladesh and 1 man from Pakistan, aged between 22 and 38 years, describe how they were apprehended and pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The respondent is a 34 years old man from Bangladesh and explains that he and his group went on game together, walking through Croatia. Whilst they were sleeping in a forest in Croatia, some of them woke up due to 7 gun shots that were fired in a very close distance. He describes that in total 8 Croatian police officers – 7 men, 1 woman – were approaching the group. All of them wore black balaclava masks and 7 of them wearing black uniforms, 1 with blue uniform. After the description of the uniforms, we can assume that the 7 police officers in black uniforms are members of the Croatian Intervention police. The one in a blue uniform is most likely part of the municipality or border police, though the respondent did not remember the exact details.
As the police officers arrived they started kicking and beating everyone with wooden sticks. As the people were still laying on the ground, they were hitting them on their backs, arms, and legs. One officer additionally used a teaser and the respondend describes how the police woman pushed one of the group members on the ground and continued to beat on his upper body parts. In total it lasted around 1 minute until the police officers stopped the physical violence.
Afterward, around 1 liter of cold water got poured over the heads of most of the people from the transit group. The respondend explains that some police officers were shouting in English “What are you here for?” and other phrases that he could not remember exactly. The members of the group were afraid of further violence and therefore kept quiet and did not answer the questions.
In the following procedure the Croatian officers forced everyone to hand over their money, mobile phones and power banks – the latter got threwn away into the forest by the officers, and the respondent witnessed how the officers put the phones and cash – a couple of hundred Euros – into their own pockets. Additionally 1 bag of food got taken away from the transit group as well.
The transit group was then brought to a street where they had to enter into the back of a police van and got driven by 4 officers for about 25 minutes towards the Croatian-Bosnian border area around Basara. Once arrived, they were escorted to the Korana river, which marks the border, and forced to swim back towards Bosnia.