On approximately 9th March 2021, a group of 30 people from Afghanistan walked from Bihac in Bosnia Herzegovina into Croatia. The group was made up of several minors, including a 10-year-old and the respondent who is 17. The group had walked for more than one day and had reached road E71 in the Croatian interior.
The respondent reported that a ‘helicopter’ found them, which is understood to mean a drone. Shortly after, 7-9 Croatian authorities in black uniforms arrived. They were all wearing ski masks. This uniform is consistent with that of the intervention unit of the Croatian police. Two of the officers were female. The officers told the whole group to get to sit down. The officers then struck the group members with batons. The respondent stated that a female officer told him to lie down and struck him with a ‘stick’. He indicated an injury on the top of his thigh from this. Another group member indicated a wound on his chin from the same event.
Following this, the entire group was loaded into a van. There was only enough room for them to stand tightly together. They were taken to the border area close to Velika Kladusa where the River Glina forms the boundary between Croatia and Bosnia. The officers took phones, money, and shoes from everyone and made a fire with the belongings. They were then forced across the river back into Bosnia. The respondent stated that “Everyone go, one by one in water. One small boy, he’s very scared, everyone go.”