The respondent is a twenty-five-year-old man from Pakistan, who traveled with a group of sixty men between the age of twenty and thirty years. They left Bihać by taxi which dropped them off 20 kilometers after crossing the Croatian border, passing through Kulen Vakuf. According to their plan, another taxi was supposed to pick them up on highway A1. As they were a big group several taxis had to come. The first two taxis also arrived and drove two groups of ten people towards Slovenia. Nevertheless, as the second taxi was intercepted by police shortly after, the respondent, who was with the remaining people, was left waiting for a new taxi for six days.
He waited in the forest close to highway A1 with the group of now fifty people. He hoped that a taxi would come soon, but as days passed by, he ran out of food. There was nothing to eat and drink in the “jungle“.
On September 13th at 11 am, a group of six Croatian policemen found the group. Four of them wore blue border police uniforms, whereas two wore black uniforms with ski masks covering their faces and batons. They ordered the people on the move to sit down and stay silent. Then they asked who spoke Bosnian and because everyone was silent, the respondent raised his hand. He had been living in Bosnia for two years and was nearly fluent in the local language.
Suddenly, one policeman approached him and slapped him hard on the face three times. As a consequence of the impact and the clenching of his jaw, one of his teeth broke. They started questioning him, assuming that he was “the boss” (the smuggler) because he spoke Bosnian. They took his picture and threatened him that if he attempted to cross the Croatian border again, they would kill him. At that moment, the policemen agitated one of the two dogs present on the scene against the respondent. The dog wore a mask, but it stood on its hind legs and attacked the man’s back and arms.
“I was too much scared, but once again I have to fight.”
The Croatian police took everyone’s bags. According to the respondent, the best cellphones and power banks were confiscated, the rest was thrown in a bonfire. Moreover, they also burnt the jacket and the 30 Bosnian Marks (approximately 15 Euros) the man was carrying. He assumed it was a punishment for being mistaken for a smuggler.
Finally, the police loaded twenty people into the van at a time. There was no room and a scarcity of air in the vehicle. The group of men was dropped off in an unknown location in the border area.
“Too much jungle and mountain, I don’t know where we are. I walk for five hours and again I am too much hungry. At 4 PM I see the first road and one man, so I shout: “Brate, is this Bosnia?””
The stranger confirmed that they were in Bosnian territory and that there was only about 5 km left to Bihać. After one more hour of walking, the Pakistani man arrived back at his journey’s starting point.