The group of five men started their journey at around 5:00 am on the 17th of April from the city of Sturlic. After passing what was described as the first mountain, one of the individuals decided to return, because he could not deal with his tiredness. For several days, the group walked as fast as they could, sometimes sleeping only two hours per night.
“More days walking means more food, less time using the power banks.”
After several days walking through Croatia, they reached the Slovenian border. At around 4:30 am on April 21st, they group crossed over to the Slovenian side and continued walking until around 6:30 pm. At that time, they were around 12 km away from the city of Ribinica.
“We want to cross the city at dawn, we want reduce the risk that police catch us.”
They decided to sleep in the forest until 1:00 am (March 22nd) and continue their walk after. At 5:00 am, they reached the bus station of Ribinica and bought tickets to Ljubljana. They went in pairs and in intervals of 1.5 hours, to stay undetected.
Since the shops and cafes were closed in the city at this time, the group returned to the forest to hide while waiting for the bus. At around 7:30 am, a police car passed by, and stopped a little further, waiting for their reaction. Some minutes later, a police man and a police woman walked up to the group. The officers asked for their passports and when the individuals explained that they did not have any, the officers asked for their reason being in Slovenia.
“I said we are refugees we want to take a bus to Ljubljana, and they said because of this we need to go to the police station.”
At the police station, the individuals were interrogated with the help of an Arabic translator. They were asked for their names, nationalities, ages and also for their reasons to have left their home countries and how much it had cost them in total to get to Slovenia. After the interrogation, the group was taken to the jail.
“We stay all night with no food.”
The next morning, April 23rd, at around 10:30 am, the officers brought the group to a police van with three other individuals and handed them over to the Croatian authorities. At the border area, the authorities took photos of their faces. Once they were inside Croatia, the group switched to a Croatian police van with three more people on the move inside. They were left in the van for more than an hour in front of the station while the officers went inside with their phones and power banks. When they finally returned, they handed over their belongings which were destroyed. When the respondent asked for the money the Slovenian authorities had previously confiscated, they just answered that they did not have any.
The Croatian officers drove the group for four hours to the Croatian/Bosnian border near Glinica. At 5:00 pm, they were told to get out of the van and walked back three hours to Velika Kladuša.