On Thursday, March 11th, a group of 7 people (2 men, 2 women, and 3 children 3, 8, and 12 years old) started their journey towards the Croatian border, at around 3 AM from Bosanska Bojna, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
After around 4 hours of walking, they were spotted by a police helicopter close to the village of Buzeta, and were told to walk back down the hill, where a white municipal van was waiting for them, and they were apprehended by 3 municipal officers in black uniforms. Upon the arrival of the officers, the respondent’s wife who suffers from regular seizure attacks started having a seizure and was lying on the ground unconscious for the whole time without receiving any kind of medical attention.
The 3 officers then made a call, and while waiting for the special force officers to arrive, every group member’s phone was confiscated. According to the respondent they went through all their private photos and videos while laughing together.
After a while, a white van described by the respondent as the “deportation van” arrived. A female officer in dark blue uniform searched every group member very thoroughly, and in a way that is described by the respondent as “very violent and inappropriate”. She also searched inside the baby’s diaper, and violently turned the unconscious woman on her sides to search her body, upon finding a phone in her pocket, the officer then hardly slapped the respondent two times for not surrendering his wife’s phone earlier.
“They were mocking her and laughing, while she was lying there unconscious, saying it’s all fake”
The respondent describes this officer as a short, medium-built woman in her mid-thirties and with short hair, who is mostly seen working alongside an older, tall, well-built male officer with fully grey hair. According to the respondent, they’ve had multiple previous encounters with these officers, and they are both known amongst the PoM communities as having very violent and brutal behavior and stealing people’s property.
After the search, all group members were put inside the van. According to the respondent, they drove very recklessly with no consideration although kids and a sick woman were inside the van, resulting in some group members getting sick and having to throw up.
Upon arrival at the push back point, all seven phones were returned inside a plastic bag, while all phone’s cameras were broken, and their charging sockets were taken out. None of the SD cards, SIM cards, food, and power banks were returned with the phone. When the respondent asked about their power banks, one of the officers kicked him in the stomach. One officer pointed a gun at the other woman in the group for being slow, while she was trying to carry the 3-year-old kid in the group.
After the group crossed the border back into the Bosnian soil, and while trying to figure out a way to help the respondent’s wife, who was still unconscious, the Croatian authorities yelled and them, and told them to keep moving, giving them the wrong direction towards Bojna.
The group walked for around 6 hours to arrive back at their squat in Bosanska Bojna.
“They took all our food and water, and pushed us back while my wife was still unconscious. We had to carry her all the way”