On Wednesday, 14th of December 2022, a 30-year-old man from Afghanistan was pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina, around the border area in Velika Kladuša. The pushback happened in the early morning hours (2 am). It was his second attempt to cross the Bosnian-Croatian border.
The transit group consisted of ten young men, the youngest one being a minor, 16 years old. All members are aged between 16 and 30 years old but the respondent could not tell their exact ages. All of them were born in Afghanistan.
They tried to cross Croatia by foot. The respondent stated that they started walking at around 1.20 am in the night, starting from Velika Kladuša, and walked for 40 minutes without stopping. Reportedly, as they reached the border, 3 small police cars pulled up. While 4 men had already managed to cross the border, 1 police car came towards the others. The 6 men left were apprehended by who the respondent referred to as 3 men in dark blue uniforms with black face masks. The description of the uniforms could likely match the ones usually worn by the Croatian Intervention Police.
The respondent stated that the officers started screaming: “Go back, go back now”. Followed by: “Go back to your home”, to which the respondent replied: “We don’t have a home”. The transit group started running back while the police chased them, the respondent described. The minor of the transit group got caught by two officers. The respondent could recall that one of the officers held him down while the other officer was beating him. Afterwards, they pushed him away while he tried to follow the rest of the group.
It reportedly took 2 hours for the group to reach back to an informal settlement in Velika Kladuša. The respondent said that everyone was very cold, very tired and they had to stop several times to recover and take some rest.