On Wednesday, the 2nd March 2022, at around 2 p.m., a group of 8 people from Afghanistan, Iran and Kurdistan got push-backed from Croatia to Bosnia.
The respondent described that the group started walking from the Bosnian town of Velika Kladuša at 5 a.m. and arrived at the Bosnian-Croatian border at around 6 a.m. At around 8 a.m. the group crossed the border and between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. they encountered 4 persons and two vehicles near the village of Cetingrad (coordinates: 45°09’00.0 “N 15°44’24.1 “E). The respondent described that the people were wearing blue uniforms with “Granicna Policija” written on the back. This suggests that they were Croatian border police officers. The respondent described the vehicles as a civilian car in dark colour and a black civilian van of medium size.
The respondent described that the group asked the Croatian officers for asylum.
“We reported to the police that his (one member of the group) wife and children are in Croatia and that he wants to see his family again and is asking for asylum. We all asked for asylum.”
The officers asked the group for passports, which only one person could show. The officers explained that they would have to take the group to the police station to decide whether the request for asylum could be granted.
The respondent described that the officers called for reinforcements. In the meantime, the group was asked to put all their belongings (mobile phones, money, powerbanks, food, hygiene articles) into plastic bags, which the officers took and did not return at any time.
“They told us we had to give them everything we owned. We even had to give them our perfume.”
Around 10 a.m., the reinforcement arrived with 7 persons. The respondent described that the arriving persons were wearing black uniforms and black ski masks. This description matches the uniforms normally worn by officers of the Croatian Intervention Police. The Croatian Intervention Police officers arrived in vans. The interviewee described a black van with no windows in the back and a white van with blue stripes with the word “Policija” written on it.
The officers asked the group to get into the white van. The white van had no windows in the back, was equipped with two benches and there were already 7 people inside. The respondent described that while the group was getting into the van, one person was pushed by one of the officers of the Croatian Intervention Police.
The group asked the officers if they could drink or eat something, which the officers denied. The group was also not allowed to use a toilet.
After the group got into the van, the drive lasted four hours and did not end at the police station as the officers had promised. The respondent described that the driving was extra bad, causing several people to vomit. In addition, the air conditioning was turned on every 15 minutes with cold air.
“The driver drove extra badly so that we threw up. Every 15 minutes they turned on the air conditioning for 5 minutes with cold air. That was very cold!”
At around 2 p.m., the van reached the Bosnian-Croatian border south of the Bosnian town of Bihac. The respondent clarified that the van was in Bosnian territory when the group was asked to leave the van and forced to line up separately in two lines: one for men and one for women. Then the whole group was asked to leave the place. The Croatian Intervention Police officers waited until the group was out of sight.