On Sunday, 2nd of April, a group of 5 men from Morocco and 1 man from Tunisia (all between 18 and 35 years old) was apprehended next to the Croatian village Trnovi and pushed back to Bosnia.
The respondents stated that after crossing the border and walking for about 30 km in Croatian territory, 5 men and 1 woman wearing dark blue uniforms stopped the transit group at 10pm (near to Trnovi). One of the men was wearing night vision glasses. They had a white four-seater car (Toyota), with the word “Policija” written on it. The respondents recalled that they also saw a drone flying next to them. Based on this description, it would be possible that the people who apprehended the transit group were Croatian border police officers or Croatian regular police officers.
The respondents explained that they were trying to run away from them, when one of the officers fired his gun in the air, which made them stop running. Then, the drone began to emit a very loud sound, and the young men were forced to sit on the ground. The respondents stated that the officers started kicking, punching and hitting them with tree branches. Reportedly, they were beaten in their faces, in their backs, and almost in every part of their bodies, for about 30 minutes. One member of the group was urinating blood for many days after this incident.
The respondents explained that one of the officers was trying to break their feet/ankles one by one. They also explained that the officers were laughing and joking, singing along to the sounds emitted by the drone while they were hitting them. The members of the group explained that they were body checked, and that they were forced to get undressed. Later, the officers would give them back only their underwear or in some cases their underwear and their pants. While the officers were bodychecking them, they found their phones and broke them, except the ones they liked, which they decided to keep. Reportedly, they also stole their money (around 330 euros) and their shoes. At some point, one of the members of the group asked for water, as he was very thirsty, and instead of giving him water, the officers poured a bottle of water over his head.
The respondents explained that after all this happened, they were forced to get into the car’s back, but they were all beaten one by one before getting into the vehicle. Then, they were driven to the push-back location, for what felt like 20 minutes. They stated that the officers were driving extremely fast and then stopping suddenly a few times, which caused that the members of the group fell on top of each other and against the walls of the car and injured themselves. While doing this, the officers were laughing and making fun of them again. The respondents reported that at 12 am they arrived at the push-back location, which was in the forest very close to the border. They did not remember exactly where this location was, as they did not have a phone anymore to check the map, but it was somewhere in the area between Hadžin Potok and Đurin Potok.
At that point, they were forced to get out of the van one by one, and they were beaten again by the officers, who were punching and kicking them for what felt like one hour. Then, the officers started shouting and insulting them in English (except for one who shouted at them in Greek). They also started throwing stones at them. The transit group was eventually able to run away from the officers, but they still had to walk for what felt like 17 hours without their jackets and shoes, and it was very cold (only 2 degrees). After walking for this very long time, they reached Velika Kladuša, they slept there for a while as they were very tired, and then took a bus back to Bihać.