“The individual heard the officer firing about 10 warning shots as they fled”

  • Date and time: March 21, 2019 06:00
  • Location: Donji Vaganac, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Coordinates: 44.912025019223854, 15.726393175062185
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 6 person(s), age: 17-25 , from: Morocco, Algeria
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, gunshots
  • Police involved: Three male Croatian police officers wearing dark blue uniforms. Each officer had a pistol and a baton. One Croatian police jeep.
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: [Re:]ports Sarajevo

Original Report

At around 6 am on March 21, 2019, the group of six men were walking along a dirt road, big enough for vehicles passing. After they crossed the border, visible through a large sign saying “Welcome to Croatia”, they continued on the road. After around 20 minutes, they saw one Croatian police officer. He was wearing a dark blue uniform without cap and carried a pistol and a baton. One of the individuals instantly raised his hands, saying:

“No problem, I go Bosnia.”

When they noticed the police officer making a call on his radio device, they ran away to the direction they came from. The individual heard the officer firing about 10 warning shots as they fled. They ran for 10 minutes and managed to cross the border to the Bosnian side, when a white jeep with the Croatian police insignia followed them across the border. The car stopped and a different officer than the first one got off the car, yelling:

“Stop! Stop!”

The three police men brought the group back to the Croatian side of the border. At this point the interviewee remembers one police man beating them while one sat in the car and another police man observed the situation. They hit them for about five minutes in their arms and legs. The police screamed:

“Go back to Bosnia.”

So the six of them ran away again to the Bosnian side. This time, the Croatian police didn’t follow them. The group walked for 12 km to a town they remembered as Rujnica and slept in the forest near the town until nightfall.