The respondent is a 17-year-old boy. To conduct the report, another man translated the conversation. First off, the respondent explained that the group in transit consisted of two families. It involved two men aged 35 and 50, two women aged between 30 and 40 years old, seven children between 1 and 8 years, a 15-year-old girl, and a 17-year-old boy. In total 9 of the 13 persons were minors.
It was the 24th of December 2021 around 8 o’clock when they got in contact with Croatian authorities. At this moment the group was walking close to Cetingrad, which is a small town in Croatia close to the Bosnian border. The respondent describes that they already saw the church which he had saved as a pin on his maps. He pointed to the location that he saved on his phone as a point of orientation (see picture).
Reportedly it was one classical patrol van, with two officers in blue uniforms. This description matches border police and regular police, as their mandates, roles, and also dress code intersects with the description of the respondent. While recalling the situation the respondent told, that the group in transit knew a few words of Croatian and had some kind of conversation.
They expressed their will to apply for asylum. The officers made a call. After a time that felt like 10 minutes to the respondent one prisoner transport van and two petrol cars with eight officers in the same blue uniforms arrived. The whole group of 13 people had to enter the van. Then they drove for around 20 minutes until the group got dropped at an unknown location and were told to cross the green border to Bosnia. The respondent could not remember either the exact time or the location of the actual pushback. In line with the previous description about the time, presumably, the actual pushback took place, at around 8:45 am. About the actual place, the respondent could only guess that it was around 10 kilometers of walking back to Velika Kladusa.
Compared to his past experiences, the 17-year-old boy reckons that the police behaved quasi-kindly this time. His family and he got pushed back already 12 times before. He states that the only thing they want is to go to a peaceful place and live like a human.