On February 7, 15 men from Afghanistan were pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia. The respondent is 19 years old and the rest of the transit group members are in their early 20s.
The respondent described being apprehended in the forest by what he referred to as “city police” (they wore dark blue and looked like city police in Bosnia, however, they may not have been city police). Five or six officers found his group in the jungle, told them to sit and kicked anyone who did not immediately comply. The group were not allowed to speak, if they tried they were also “punished.” The police reportedly did not speak with them.
According to the respondent, they were transported to a police station (location unknown) where their phones and money were taken from them. The group spent about approximately three hours in the station but were not asked for personal details, no pictures were taken nor were they asked to sign any documents. For communication with the group, some English-speaking group members were asked to translate.
From the station, they were reportedly taken to the border in a van without windows. Based on the distance they had come from the border, the respondent believes the drive should have been about 30 minutes. Instead, they drove around for what the respondent felt was four to six hours. The driving was “bad” and included going in circles and being reckless. “They do this as punishment” the respondent said; they could not ask them to stop, or they would have been beaten more severely.
The respondent said the officers at the police station had passed the group’s personal belongings on to the border police (described as wearing dark blue and black uniforms) before the pushback, but they did not return them.
According to the respondent, the group were pushed back to the border between Lipa and Bihac city.