A group consisting of a mother (51) with her two sons (25, 19) and one friend (22) from Syria, two single women from Somalia (23, 27) and two older men from Turkish Kurdistan (40, 45) left Velika Kladuša on June 27 at 10:00 PM for their first transit attempt towards Croatia.
They were walking around 8 kilometers in two hours, waiting for their taxi to call them, and when they finally got the call, they waited for two more hours for two taxis to arrive. Once the two taxi arrived, it took them a while to negotiate the price with the driver and once the taxi had brought them to a place close to the border, they were waiting 30 more minutes for their friends in the other taxi whose driver confused the way, so they ended up crossing the border by foot near Sturlic at 3.30 AM on June 28.
They walked around 12-15 kilometers through forests and montainous land until 8:00 AM when they found an empty mountain hut, and as they were exhausted, they entered to sleep there for some time. Only the Syrian mother didn’t find rest and stayed awake to keep watch on the group. After approximately 30 minutes, two police vans and one police car approached the hut.
“One officer was shooting in the air, shouting ‘Get out, Get out!'”
The respondent describes the eight police officers to probably come from two different units: Some of them wearing black uniforms and the others open blue jackets. The group got out of the hut very quickly leaving their bags inside, and was then told to get their bags from inside and to pile them up in front of the officers. They checked all their bags, collected five phones and the same amount of power banks from them in a plastic bag and bodysearched the two Kurdish men as well as one of the men from Syria. However, they didn’t take any money from the group.
The other Syrian man tried to explain them that they want to apply for asylum because as Kurds they are an oppressed minority in their country, but the officers didn’t listen and just told them to get altogether in the back of one of the windowless vans. In the van, there were handcuffs to fix people on the seats, but the officers didn’t take use of them. The driver’s cab was only connected to the back through a small window which was covered by a yellow curtain.
They drove for approximately 1h30min in the van until they reached a road near a white border stone, it was around 10:00 or 10:30 AM on the 28 at this point.
The officers opened the door, made them get off the van and gave them the plastic bag with all their phones.
“They told us: Go to Bosnia, don’t come back!'”
Five minutes after they passed the border stone, they checked their phones in the bag and realized that they were all broken, the officers probably went with a knife in the part to charge it. They continued to walk for three kilometers and then called the same taxi as the previous day to come and pick them up. They were driving to Velika Kladuša and staying in front of Miral camp for the next days.