The respondent was part of a group of 8 people at the age of 23-25. On Sunday 09.05.21 they were walking through Croatian forests, with the goal to reach Italy. Close to road 23 in Croatia, two officers in green-brown uniform detected the group. The respondent states that the authorities were already sitting in a car next to the road when the group tried to cross the road.
“I don’t know, if they are waiting for us, suddenly they were there.”
This happened at around 3.30 pm in the afternoon, according to the respondent. There was limited communication with the two officers:
“We asked for asylum to the army man, he said: ‘no camp in Croatia, you go back to Bosnia.’”
The authorities took all belongings, bags, sleeping bags, phones, and shoes of the respondent and his companions, and stored them in bags. After this, the officers called for further authorities which arrived after some time in a white van with the writing ‘Policija’ on it. The group was told to go in the van. When sitting inside, authorities gave them back their shoes, according to the respondent. After a ride that lasted for about 15 minutes, the people were brought to a police station. The respondent recalled some houses in the distance that he could see from the window of the station.
“I think nearby city, not within the city, nearby city I think”.
At the police station, the group was checked for belongings again. Next, the group was pushed into a cell in which they would sit for the next 5 hours. They had access to water and a toilet, but no food was given. After some time, another group of 4 people arrived in the cell, accompanied by three more police officers. The respondent recalled about 6 police officers present in the station. After 5 hours of waiting at around 8-9 pm in the evening, both groups were told to exit the cell. Two police officers brought them to a van in which there were already some people sitting. In total, they were about 20 people in the van. Some of them on seats, the others on the ground. After 3-4 hours driving at around 00.00 or 1 am on the 10.05.21, they arrived at the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina, close to the city of Velika Kladuša. At the border, 6 or 7 police officers were waiting, in black and blue uniforms, wearing ski masks. They opened the car and told them to go. It was on a small road, with forest surrounding them.
“You know, we cannot accept this by Croatian police.”
The respondent said in the end. The group walked for 12-13 hours back to the camp Lipa, close to the city of Bihac.