The group of five Pakistani men left by foot from Bihać (BIH) to Croatia on December 25, 2018. After walking for four days in Croatia, on December 29, they were apprehended by the authorities along the road D42 in the mountains at around 9 pm. Five officers in green army clothes, carrying long, military-style rifles arrived in a green jeep and stopped them.
“It looked as if they wait for us. They only come out when we are near to them and catch us.”
Shortly after this, five more vehicles arrived with ten more officers, one being in command of the rest of the group.
The group of five had all of their bags checked and their mobile phones and power banks taken away. One of the officers took photos of the group.
The five of them then had to enter a van and was driven for 50 minutes to a location which the respondents described as a base or a station for the officers who apprehended them. Afterwards, they were driven for 20 minutes to a police station where they made a short break to switch vans before being driven again for 15 minutes to a different police station. At this station, 11 more people on the move from Arabic countries entered the van.
The whole group of now 16 was then returned to a secluded area at the Bosnian-Croatian border, close to Grabarska. There, they had to get off the van and were forced with batons to move towards a stream running along the border. The officers followed them, hitting them with batons on their legs and back torsos to make them move faster. When the group of 16 arrived at the stream, the officers threw their personal items, i.e. sleeping bags, phones, bags, into the water and pushed the 16 individuals into the stream. In total, four mobile phones, six power banks and €80 was stolen by the authorities.
” The water was mid deep, like four feet maybe.”
One of the individuals was able to return after the push-back and retrieve one of the waterlogged power banks. After this, the group of 16 started walking back, waiting in a small, abandoned house close to the border for the night to pass. All of them were wet and very cold and therefore weren’t able to sleep during the night.
“We were all so wet, bodies wet, clothes wet, nothing dry. We were freezing the whole night. No one slept.”