“They fired the gun to the left and right of our bodies”

  • Date and time: July 17, 2019 12:00
  • Location: Prijeboj, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 44.84371659999999, 15.676182899999958
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 10 person(s), age: 6, 29, 29, 25, 39, 24, 23, 25, 30, 30 , from: Pakistan, Palestine, Syria
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: gunshots, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 12 Croatia police, 2 dressed in light blue uniforms, 10 dressed in black; 1 police car, 2 police vans
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring

Original Report

On July 16, a group of ten individuals began their transit attempt from Vučjak camp near the city of Bihać (BiH). The group included a six year old child. They walked about six or seven hours from camp to the border and entered Croatia around 7:00AM on July 17.

After crossing the border, they walked for two hours, which they believed was approximately four kilometers inside Croatian territory. They were near the Croatian village of Prijeboj (see map) when two police officers saw them and ordered them to sit down. The officers were described as dressed in light blue uniforms and drove a signed police car. The respondent states that the officers fired a gun at the group six times.

“They fired at us! Not in the air, but to the left and right of our bodies. The small boy was afraid and crying.”

After five minutes, five or six more male officers came and the respondent reported that they were dressed in all black. The officers dressed in light blue ordered the group members to give them their backpacks and they looked through everything inside. The respondent states that their mobile phones and power banks were confiscated and they were then ordered inside a police van and driven for 30 minutes to a police station.

“We got out of the van at a police station but we did not go inside. They put us inside a garage next to the station.”

The police put everyone inside of what was described as a “garage” and put their bags outside of the room. The room already hosted a group of people from Algeria and Morocco. It was a windowless room without a toilet. When the group asked to use the toilet, the police refused. They also asked for food and water but the police refused to give them this as well.

“I don’t know how long we were in the garage, maybe one or two hours. After they caught us, I lost track of time.”

Later, four police officers dressed in black ordered the group members out and into a van. They drove one hour to the border. The van was very hot and the driver was swerving.

“There was an oxygen problem in the van; there was no oxygen. Some people started vomiting.”

Around 9:00PM, they arrived at the Bosnian border. There were more police officers dressed in black, but the respondent couldn’t remember how many. The police ordered the group members out of the van and then started a fire and put all of their bags in the fire. Then the police gave back four telephones, instead of the ten that were confiscated. Because of this, an argument started between the group about who should get the telephones.

The police ordered one person to go ahead of the rest of the group. He walked to the border and waited ten minutes. Then the police shouted “go, never come back” and the rest of the group followed, walking to the border.

The group walked from the border to Bihać and then to Vučjak camp. It took them twelve hours to arrive at the camp from the border.