On Thursday 17th February 2022, at around 10 AM, a group of eight people from Afghanistan were pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia.
The respondent explained that the group left the Bosnian town of Velika Kladuša at approximately 7 AM and crossed the border into Croatia at about 8.30 AM. The respondent described a forested area and remembered these coordinates to be the approximate location: 45°09’46.2 “N 15°45’53.9 “E
Around 9 AM, after the group had been in Croatia for roughly 30 minutes, the group encountered a car and two people. The respondent described the car as a white passenger car with a blue stripe with the inscription “Policija” and the clothes of the persons as dark blue uniforms with the inscription “Policija” on the back. This suggests the possibility that they were local Croatian officers.
The respondent stated that the group asked the Croatian officers for asylum in Croatia. The officers reportedly neglected the request and demanded the group’s passports, which they did not have and therefore could not show. The officers then reportedly stated that the group was in the country illegally. The respondent explained that he asked the Croatian officers why the group cannot ask for asylum, to which the officers replied that this is their job and their mandate.
“I ask the police officers why they don´t allowed us to come here. They said we have this job. Our boss don´t allow us to let you in. We can´t do anything.”
The respondent described that the officers called their colleagues for reinforcement. In the meantime, the group had to spread the contents of their backpacks on the ground and the officers examined their items. The officers reportedly put the group’s mobile phones into plastic bags and stowed them in the patrol car. The rest of the contents of the backpacks were allowed to be repacked after the examination.
At approximately 9.30 AM, the reinforcements arrived in a white unmarked van with only front windows. The respondent described the reinforcements as two persons in dark blue uniforms with the inscription “Policija” on the back, which is consistent with the local police uniform. The group reportedly had to get into the van, which had two benches. The respondent described that the officers forced the group to hurry and the women and children who were not fast enough were insulted by the officers in Croatian. The officers moved the doors of the van back and forth. When the women and children were intimidated, the officers reportedly laughed.
“When we go into the car, they kicked the door. The door swung back and forth and we were afraid that the door will hit us. When they saw that we were scared, they laughed.”
The group asked if they could have something to drink and eat, but the Croatian officers refused. The group was also not allowed to use the toilet.
At around 10 AM, the van reached the Croatian-Bosnian border near Velika Kladuša. The respondent described the place as a wooded area and could not give a more precise location. The respondent recalled that the group had to get out of the van and that the officers gave them back their mobile phones. Then the officers explained that the group had to cross the border. The group reportedly reached Velika Kladuša again at around 12 PM.