The two men from Algeria, aged 24 and 42, left for Croatia early in the morning at around 4 am. After they had walked for about a kilometer through some fields close to Dobrljin, Bosnia, they crossed the border to Croatia over a bridge that connects the two countries (see the red dot in the picture).
After less than an hour of walking in Croatian territory, they arrived in a little town called Gornja Oraovica, about 4 km North of the border. At that moment, they heard two shots, that happened to be rubber bullets, aimed at the sky and a voice screaming: “Hey, hey! Stop! Stop! Stop!!!”. The respondent described, that some bright flashlights were pointing towards them. He states that he and his friend stopped, as they were afraid that they were shot at if they would not spot.
They then saw two black Volkswagen cars. The first one with, what the respondent identified as, five Croatian policemen in it and the other one with two policemen wearing plainclothes.
Two police officers were discussing with each other. As the respondent knows some Croatian, he states that one officer tried to convince the other one not to strike the two men: “Don’t touch these people, just push them back to the border”. The respondenr recalls that this officer was telling the other one that he had seen them crossing the border on a camera that is located next to the border.
After the policemen ended their discussion, they asked the two men for their phones and their passports. Since the respondent had lost both his phone and his passport he could not hand over anything. Instead, the officers were investigating the phone of his friend. According to the respindent, they were scrolling through his private pictures, messages, and his ‘maps.me’ application, but handed back the phone afterward.
The officers also searched the men and their backpacks in which they were carrying only clothes and two powerbanks. The respondent states that he only later realized that some of his clothes were missing.
After body-checking them, the officers asked them to get into the vehicle and drove them to a place close to the border in Bužim, which took them about one hour of driving. Although the respondent emphasizes that the officers respected them and that he states that they were good people, the men did not ask for asylum, assuming that the officers would just ignore their request.
At the border, they spent about ten minutes in some containers close to the border side and were then asked to cross it back into Bosnia. It then took them several hours of walking until they arrived in a town where they could relax.