The respondent started his journey from Zlopoljac, BiH with the goal to reach Italy with a group of 20 people, two of whom were women. They started on the morning of the 10th of June.
After eight hours of walking, the group members reached the Croatian border. During the walk, the group members only took short breaks to eat or drink something. After they had crossed the Croatian border they kept on walking for about one hour on the main road. While they were walking a car passed by and five to ten minutes later a police car, with two police officers in blue uniforms, arrived.
They stopped the car, walked towards the group members while firing into the air, and telling them to stop. The group members were asked to give them their phones and power banks. The officers told them that they would give them back their electronic devices when they would get to the Bosnian border. All group members had to enter in one police car. According to the respondent, the group members had to sit on the floor, on top of each other.
In a 40-minutes drive, the group was directly driven to the Croatian-Bosnian border, where eight masked police officers in black uniforms were waiting for them. By that time, it was already midnight. The group members were beaten up by the police.
“They put their sticks out and beat. Eight police officers, with black masks.”
The respondent had wounds on his back, arms, and legs from the striking. Women were not beaten by the officers. After, the group members were forced to remove their shoes and clothes. They had to throw all their things, including their bags, which contained sleeping bags, tents, food, and water onto one pile.
“Remove here and throw it there. All things, water, food, all things. All things on fire. shoes, socks. Only one trouser and one shirt.”
The group members were left with only one shirt and one pair of trousers. The phones were not, as promised earlier, given back to them.
“When they came they said, we give you. We give you phone. When we come to deport they burn. They smash the phone there.”
The officers destroyed their phones in front of them and put them, together with their other belongings, on fire. After, the group was forced to cross the border into Bosnia.
To reach the Bosnian side, the group members had to cross three rivers. The first one was ankle-high, the second knee-high, and the water from the third river reached their hips. The respondent stated that two months ago a boy was killed by the river, while he was forced to cross it.
“They beat and say jump on first river. Second river, third river.”
The officers forced the group members to jump into the river, which contains many sharp stones. “They cut on this side, down. A lot of bleeding. Stones are very sharp.” Due to the injury of the stone, two group members were not able to continue their walk back to Bihac. The remaining group members organized them a tent from local people, in which they stayed for two more days, until a doctor arrived, and their feet recovered. The rest of the group walked, with wet clothes, the 30km back to Zlopoljac.