On the 16th of January 2019, two men from Algeria and Morocco left Velika Kladuša (BIH) at around 10 pm. They walked the whole night and stopped at an abandoned building to sleep during the day, close to the village of Kupljensko (HRV).
“At 5 am, my friend wants to get rest because we walked a lot. We found a place, like an abandoned house, it is really cold, I made a fire and we sleep from morning to night. After it is night time, there is snow, a lot of snow, I did not see it because I was sleeping.”
The respondent’s friend’s shoes were already completely soaked from the snow at this point, leaving the two ill-prepared to continue. Nevertheless, they began to walk again in the evening, but were not able to hide themselves due to the snow. Cars were passing close to them as they had to walk on a road. After a few minutes, a car stopped at their level, and they recognized a white police car with two officers in dark blue uniforms and hats. The authorities stopped them and told them not to move and to declare everything that they had with them, i.e. phones, power banks, money. After they were frisked, the officers called for backup and half an hour later, a white police van arrived. The two officers in the van wore black uniforms and carried handguns on their belts, the respondent recounted. While waiting, the two men had to stand without moving. One of the officers asked them if they had passports or documents, but they only had a registration card from a camp in Bosnia.
They were then brought to the Bosnian border at approximately 11.30 pm, close to Velika Kladuša. There, one officer opened the door of the van, telling them to leave.
“Me, I am afraid because he wore a ski-mask. I’m wondering: will he beat me, won’t he beat me? I am scared when they opened the door, I think they will catch me, then I began to walk fast but one policeman told me to wait, and then he gave me my phone back.”