On Monday, March 1st, at around 12 PM, a group of 5 minors, aged between 16 and 17, started their journey from Sturlic, Bosnia. They passed the Bosnian-Croatian borders through deep waters, according to the respondent they had to go neck-deep into the water.
After 5 days of walking through the Croatian forests, On Friday, March 5th, at around 1 PM, they were apprehended by 2 or 3 Croatian officers in light green uniforms, inside the forest close to highway E71.
The group walked for about 1 kilometer with the officers until they arrived at the main road, where another 5 or 6 officers also in light green uniforms were waiting for them, two of which were holding tree sticks and something, which the respondent describes as sword-like knives.
The officers removed all group members’ shoes and took everyone to a police station (most probably Ogulin Police Station) in a white municipal van.
In the police station, all group members’ clothes were removed and they were searched very thoroughly by officers in black uniforms. they were also beaten up with batons on their ankles and legs while they were being searched.
Shoes and underwear were returned to the group members after the search, but all other clothes as well as all their other belongings, including backpacks, phones, power banks, money (around 60 EUR), and their food were confiscated. The money as well as some of their food was put inside a black plastic bag, and they were told that it would be returned to them at the border.
All group members were asked a few times about their ages, and according to the respondent, the officers were aware that all group members are underage. They were not asked to sign any papers.
“Last few times I was traveling with adults, they had them sign papers, but they’ve never asked me or my other minor friends to sign any papers”
After the search, the group was transferred into a detention room, with another group of adult men from Pakistan who had been in a mine accident near the border.
Shortly after, the group was picked up by 2 officers in black uniforms without any kind of identification attached, wearing what the respondent describes as ski masks. They were taken to the Bosnian-Croatian border in a vehicle described by the respondent as a “black deportation van”.
At the border point, all group members were searched again very quickly, they were asked to remove their shoes and throw them into a nearby hole. The black plastic bag containing the group’s money and food, as well as their phones and backpacks were not returned to them.
They were then taken next to the Korana river, and were asked to lie on their stomach, and were beaten on their legs with sticks. They were forced to cross the border back into Bosnia through the Korana river, which according to the respondent was too deep and wide to pass through, and some group members did not know how to swim. They had to jump over the river and walk back to Sturlic, for around 3 hours, without shoes and warm clothes. They arrived back to their squat at around 8 or 9 PM.
” Some people have drowned in this water, two of my friends also don’t know how to swim, and we all had to jump over the river, or they would’ve beaten us up, it was very scary for us “