“'Italy', they laughed, 'okay, come, I'm gonna bring you to Italy' ”

  • Date and time: April 24, 2022 08:00
  • Location: Ruševica, close to village of Cetingrad, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 44.825511, 15.727917
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 8 person(s), age: 15, 15, 16, 17 years old ; rest unknown , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: dog attacks, forcing to undress, reckless driving, pushing people into the car
  • Police involved: 2 men in dark blue uniforms, 1 white transport vehicle with “policija” written on blue stripes on the sides; 4 men in black uniforms, described as similar to the ones of the Croatian intervention police, 1 white transport van, described as with “policija” written on blue stripes on the sides, no windows in the back, 2 benches inside
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: no translator present, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Blindspots

Original Report

On Sunday, the 24th of April 2022 at around 8 a.m., a group of 4 people from Afghanistan reportedly got pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia.

The respondent described that the group had started walking from the Bosnian town of Velika Kladuša at 1 a.m. After what he reported as 7 hours of walking through the so-called “jungle” [forest], they allegledly encountered 2 persons in a vehicle in Ruševica near the village of Cetingrad (45.301842, 16.223142). The respondent described the vehicle as a white transport van with “policija” written on blue stripes on the sides. The respondent explained that the people who got out of the car were wearing blue uniforms, described as similar to the Croatia police’s.

Reportedly, one man in uniform asked the group how old they were. After the group responded, the uniformed men started to check their bags. The respondent reported that he had to undress completely while the other members of the group had to show their phones and money.

“They were good policemen, they spoke good with us and after they checked us, they gave back the phone and money.”

At around 10 a.m., 4 now people arrived, and the 2 previous uniformed men left. The respondent stated that the arriving persons were wearing black uniforms, described as similar to the ones usually worn by the Croatian Intervention Police. The interviewee declared that they arrived in a white van without windows in the back and blue stripes with the word “Policija” written on it.

The men in uniform reportedly asked the group members where they wanted to go. The respondent answered that they were heading towards Italy to go to Germany.

“They were really bad, they said: ‘You wanna go to Italy?’, I told them ‘yes, Italy’, they laughed, ‘okay, come, I’m gonna bring you to Italy.’”

The respondent added that then, the uniformed men started to push them into the van. The inside was described as equipped with two benches and the respondent related that there were already 4 Afghan people inside. According to the respondent, some of these people had to throw up due to erratic car driving that went on for what felt like 3-4 hours. At 2 p.m. the van arrived at the Croatian side of the Bosnian border (44.825334, 15.728720), way more south of the place where the group had entered the country. The respondent reported that one man in uniform told the people to leave the car, set the dogs on them, and said, “go fast, fast!”. The group crossed the border and had to walk back to Bihać.