On the 23rd of October 2020, the respondent, a 24-year-old Libyan man crossed the border to North Macedonia from Greece, along with three friends of similar age from Iran and Morocco.
A day later, on the 24th of October, the respondent and his friends reached the village of Marvintsi, south of north Macedonia (28 km away from the Greek border). There, local residents gave them food and water and advised them to leave the village as “there were a lot of police around.”
Just outside of Marvintsi, the respondent and his three friends were walking on the side of a road when they were approached by two North Macedonian police officers, one male, one female. The officers pulled over in a blue and white patrol car.
The male officer then fired a shot in the air after which the respondent and his friends ran away into the woods to hide, the respondent reports.
“He shot by his pistol to make us afraid first”
An hour later at 9:30 pm, they were found in the woods by the same two police officers from the road, along with four other police officers. The six officers (two women and four men) were wearing blue police uniforms and spoke Macedonian. The respondent described them as “huge people.” He could not give more details about them as he was told to look down.
“You have to look down and if you look at them maybe they will hit you”
The police officers came in a police car and called a police van in which the respondent and his friends were transported to the border. The van was blue and had a big cell inside as the respondent called to mind. He stated that there were no windows in the back and the front window was broken. When they got inside the van, they found three more people-one-the-move inside, two men from Algeria and one man from Afghanistan.
They drove for approximately 15 minutes when the van stopped at the North Macedonian-Greek border barrier close to the Greek village Idomeni. In late 2015, the border began to be sealed off with a two-rowed barbed wire fence. This has now turned into a complete blockage of North Macedonian’s southern border.
There, the police opened a “door” of the border fence and “pushed us back to the Greek side,” the respondent asserted.
On the Greek side, the respondent and his group found train tracks close to the border. As a result, he could determine the exact location of the pushback. This is indicated below.
On his return journey, the respondent saw approximately 35 people-on-the-move from Somalia, Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He recalled that there were three women with their husbands and the others were single adult men.
At the train tracks, the respondent recollected seeing a group of soldiers in army uniforms from far away. One female soldier had a dog on a leash. He and his companions altered their course to avoid being seen by them.
The respondent along with his three friends then took a train to Thessaloniki.