The respondent is a young Afghan man, aged 22 years. In this incident, he was traveling with his mother, his 12-year-old sister, and his brother aged 14. The family left Bihac on the 11th of August and started walking towards Croatia.
They had been walking for around two days when the police approached them, though they do not know exactly where. They remember to have walked up and down a mountain near Bihac on an unpaved road with many stones pointing towards the city of Gospic in Croatia. At 10 AM, they were reportedly approached by two police officers described as wearing light blue uniforms with the Croatian flag and referred to by the respondent as “normal police”. They were asked where they were going and what their intention was. The group explained that they were reaching Gospic and wanted to ask for asylum in Croatia. Without saying anything else, the police officers forced the members of the family to hand over their belongings. The respondent described how the police officers took everything the family had: the bags, the cellphones and the clothes they had inside the bag and set them on fire in front of them:
“My mother is screaming why are you doing this to us, she hold her bag, but they take and throw in fire”
The police officers had reportedly called other officers on the phone. In the meantime, the respondent recalled the police officers were laughing at his mother, telling her to go back to Bosnia to ask for asylum or to go back to Afghanistan.
“They say Europe does not want us and go back to our country. Maybe they don’t know going back to our country means going back to Talibans.”
After what the respondent said felt like an hour, two other police officers showed up wearing the same uniform and driving the “deportation van” (this is what the respondent calls a white police van with which he has been pushed back several times). In the van, there were two other single men together with the respondent and his family.
“They just took us to the deportation van. I not say anything. If you talk they hit you”.
According to the respondent, in the van were all four police officers, and the driver was driving recklessly. As they were driving, all the apprehended persons in the van were falling down. They drove for approximately 3 hours and at the end the respondent was left with his family and the two men about 10 km from Bihac with nothing but their clothes on. All the belongings were not returned.
“We are here now without nothing. You know we come because of war, we come because of Talibans, we are not here for having fun. Just please don’t take my phone. Really. Now we have nothing. Really.”
The respondent shows the wounded and worn foot from the walking