The respondent was a man from Pakistan that was travelling with a group of seven people from Pakistan, ranging between 23-25 years old, that were trying to reach Italy.
According to the respondent, on Sunday the 9th of May 2021, the transit group were walking through forests by road 23, when they decided to attempt to cross the road. However, they were apprehended by two officers in green-brown uniforms that had reportedly already been sitting in a vehicle alongside the road. The respondent explained, “I don’t know if they are waiting for us, suddenly they were there.”
According to the respondent, this happened at around half past three in the afternoon.
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.”
According to the respondent, the officers took everything belonging to the transit group (backpacks, sleeping bags, phones, and shoes) and stored them in bags.
After this, the officers reportedly called for further authorities which arrived after some time in a white van with the writing ‘Policija’ on it. The group was instructed to get into the van. When they were sitting inside, the authorities gave them back only their shoes, the respondent recalled.
After driving for approximately 15 minutes, the group was brought to a building described by he respondent as a police station. The respondent recalled some houses in the distance that he could see from the window of the station. When asked to describe the location of the building, the respondent stated: “I think nearby city, not within the city, nearby city I think”.
While at the station, the group’s belongings were searched.
After, the group was pushed into a cell in which they would sit for the next five hours. They had access to water and a toilet, but not food. After some time, another group of four people were put in the cell, reportedly accompanied by three more officers. The respondent recalled about six officers present at the station in total.
At around eight or nine in the evening, both groups were told to exit the cell. Two officers reportedly brought them to a van in which there were already some other people sitting. According to the respondent, there were about 20 people in total in the van; some of them on seats, others on the ground. After about three or four hours of driving, they arrived at the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina, close to the city of Velika Kladuša. At this point, it was at around 12 or one a.m. the following day (10th of May).
At the border there were six or seven officers waiting, wearing black and blue uniforms and ski masks, recounted the respondent. The officers opened the van and told them to go. The respondent recalled they were on a small road surrounded by forests.
“You know, we cannot accept this by Croatian police.”
The respondent reported that after being pushed back, the group walked for 12-13 hours back to camp Lipa, close to the city of Bihac.