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All the money they had earned working hard in the last years was stolen

Date & Time 2023-02-06
Location Near Velika Kladuša
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 45.1694375, 15.7950625
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved yes
Men involved yes
Age 40 - 45
Group size 2
Countries of origin Cuba
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 7
Violence used destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
Police involved 7 Croatian police officers wearing dark blue uniforms; 3 police vans

The two respondents are a man and a woman from Cuba, aged 40 and 45 years old. They crossed the Bosnian-Croatian border together during the night of the 6th of February,

They stated that they were apprehended while they were walking in the forest, almost arrived at the first Croatian village after the border. They did not remember the name of the village or the exact location, as they were forced to hand over their phones and other belongings, and they only had the location saved in one of their phones. However, they could surely state that this happened near to the Croatian village of Maljevac.

They recalled that at some point, while they were walking, 3 vans approached them. Reportedly, inside the vans there were 7 people wearing dark blue uniforms, both men and women. They were armed with firearms and batons. They identified these people as Croatian police officers.

Both respondents reported having been body checked, and that the officers took some of their belongings: all their money (that they had earned working very hard in the last years) and the 3 phones they had.

The respondents explained that the officers took their phones and violently threw them in a metal box they kept in the van, and that the two respondents were forced to throw all of the things they kept in their backpacks on the ground (which was covered by snow).

The woman respondent suffers from asthma, and she recalled how difficult it was for her to breathe in that moment. After that, they stated that they were ordered to get into a van with bars on the windows, and the officers told them that they were taking them back to Bosnia. The respondents could not identify the exact pushback location, but they reported that it was a road near Velika Kladuša.

They explained that when they got out of the van, the officers started screaming at them: “go, go, go!”. As the couple asked for their things to be returned to them, the officers kept on screaming “no, no! go, go away!”. The two respondents did not know where they were or where to go, so they decided to follow some lights they saw far away, trying to get to the closest village.

They reached an abandoned cafeteria at 3am, where they tried to sleep for a few hours, but it was too cold (minus degrees) and they did not have anything to protect themselves from the harsh weather. At 6:30am, eventually, they were able to take a bus which drove them back to Bihać.