In the evening of 9 May 2021, the respondent crossed the border from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia as a member of a group of 10 people. The transit group consisted of 4 men from Afghanistan and 6 men from Pakistan, aged between 15 and 26 years.
After three days of walking in Croatia, the group tried to cross the road D52 (linking Otočac and Korenica, Croatia) on 12 May 2021, around 8 p.m., in a forest. However, they were apprehended by two policemen. The officers had a passenger car and were wearing dark-blue uniforms. They yelled and cursed at the transit group, using expressions such as “Fuck you” and “Pičku materinu”. They also unlocked their guns. The respondent believes that they did so in order to scare the transit group.
After the two policemen had made a call, a van arrived and two more officers stepped out. One of them was also male, wearing a dark-blue uniform. The other one was female, she had a black uniform. She remained silent most of the time, but a friend of the respondent who was also part of the group was convinced that the female officer was German. When she and her colleague had arrived, the policemen did not continue to shout and curse.
The officers frisked the ten people on the move and took everything from them except of the clothes and shoes that they were wearing. The officers put the phones and the money of the whole group into a plastic bag. One officer took the bag, and its contents were not returned to their owners. Neither was the luggage that the group had with them. As for the respondent he had a phone, 20 Euros and his backpack with a sleeping-bag thus been stolen by the officers.
The officers then ordered the transit group to enter the rear part of the van. There were already 12 persons inside the van; all of them were Afghani, and they had been pushed back from Slovenia. In total, there were now 22 persons in the van’s rear part. There was a narrow bench to sit on, but there was not enough space for everybody and the rest had to sit on the van’s floor. They were now being driven around for an estimated 4 or 5 hours, but the respondent believes that the actual distance could have been made in 1 hour. The driver drove fast and jerkily, so that people fell from the bench. It was very cold in the van, and there were no windows and no light. There was not enough fresh air, and the people were afraid to suffocate.
“The police know they cannot scare us with hitting. But they make us scared when breathing stops. All of us had to vomit.”
Around midnight (13 May 2021, 0:30 a.m.) the van stopped on an unpaved road between Nebljusi (Croatia) and Lohovo (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The respondent estimated the spot to be near the coordinates 44.7213779, 15.9199219. The same four police officers that had apprehended them were present and told the people to get out of the van one by one, to stand in a line and to walk over the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The officers had lit a fire and threw the group members’ belongings into the fire. It was raining and the people on the move were very cold, as they had already spent several hours in the undercooled van.
After two or three hours of walking, the group reached Bihać on 13 May 2021, around 3 a.m.