On January 18th, 70 people were pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia. Among those pushed back was a family with two women.
The two respondents said that on January 16th, the transit group of 70 people took a bus from Bihać in order to get to Banja Luka. The group consisted of people from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
The group crossed the border by foot from Banja Luka and arrived in Croatia. After a long time walking, they arrived on January 18th at a place where they were supposed to begin their journey on a truck.
According to the respondent, at around 6 PM, the transit group sat on the truck, but after an estimated 15 minutes the respondent said they were caught by three officers who they believed to be Border Police (Granicna Policija). After a further 15 minutes, 11 additional officers arrived.
The officers reportedly split the group in two: around 35 people were loaded in a police van and immediately brought to the border close to Bihać, including the family and one of the two respondents.
“I didn’t ask for asylum because it’s the border, they don’t give asylum. But the family asked for a stay, the policeman said wait, and then they deported them.”
The officers brought the first group close to Bihać and then reportedly stole their phones, money, bags and their second pair of shoes.
“They stole lot of things, also the medicines from one the girls; those were important medicines for her, she took it everyday.”
The second group, in which there was the other respondent, was loaded into another van and brought to a police station which was approximately 20 minutes from the place where they were apprehended.
The respondent recalled that they were kept there until the following day, and asked for some information about their life and about their journey. They were ordered to write their names on white paper and then had their picture taken with them holding the paper. According to the respondent, the officers also body-searched the people.
“I felt like a prisoner. The room was ok, with hot water, but there were 10 beds and we were 18 people. We stayed there 20 hours, they gave us food only in the morning. They were not that bad, but they confiscated our bags and mobiles.”
After what the respondent said was many hours at the police station, on January 19th late in the afternoon, the second group was driven with what was described as a prisoner van in close proximity to Bihać. The respondent recalled that the group stayed inside the van for approximately 4 hours.