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The only solution for them is that we go back to Montenegro

Date & Time 2019-05-19
Location Metaljka, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Reported by Border Violence Monitoring Network
Coordinates 43.538586, 19.156478
Pushback from Bosnia
Pushback to Montenegro
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved yes
Men involved yes
Age 18 - 50
Group size 5
Countries of origin Syria
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 11; 2 local police officers 3 border police officers 4 police officers at checkpoint 2 border police officers
Violence used no violence used
Police involved 2 Republika Srpska police officers; 3 Bosnian border officers, 1 police van; 2 border officers in a car, 4 checkpoint police officers

One family consisting of a mother (45-50 years old), her two sons (18, 23), and two single men, all from Syria, departed from Pljevlja (MNE) at 1:00 AM on May 18th. They took a taxi to the border and entered Bosnia by foot near Metaljka (BiH).

They spent the next 24 hours walking through the forest, but during this time one member of the group fell and injured her leg. Now near the town of Brezovice (BiH), they left the forest to walk along the main road to look for someone who could help the injured member of the group.

At around 3:00 am (May 19th), the respondent reported that they encountered two local police officers on a road in Brezovice, who he claimed were from Republika Srpska (an entity within Bosnia-Herzegovina).  The officers stopped the group. They notified the officers that they needed to go to a hospital because one of the individuals had an injured leg. The police officers did not speak English, but told them to “wait, wait.” The respondent believed that the officers would help them get to the hospital. Instead, within ten minutes, three border police officers arrived in a van.

The border police asked them where they are going and the respondent told them they wanted to go to the camp in Sarajevo (BiH)  to ask for asylum and that one individual was injured and needed a medical assistance.

For ten minutes the group tried to speak to the border officers, expressing their need for a hospital, but the officers claimed they did not understand. The officers then shouted at the group and told them that they must go back to Montenegro.

“The only solution for them is that we go back to Montenegro.”

The officers shouted at them to enter the van and they drove them back to Metaljka (BiH). At this point, the respondent was separated from the other four members of the group after they had an argument. He stayed on the Bosnian side of the border to try again to reach Sarajevo (BiH) while he reported that the others crossed back into Montenegro.

The respondent walked along the main road from where he was dropped off by the border police and arrived at the Bosnian border checkpoint around 7:00 am. There were four officers present at the checkpoint, one woman and three men. The respondent showed them his Syrian documents and told them that he wanted to go to Sarajevo to apply for asylum. 

The officers checked the respondents’ documents and after ten minutes, two border police officers arrived to the location in a vehicle. They shouted at him to get into the vehicle and they drove him to the same point where he was dropped off earlier in the morning by the first three border police officers that he had encountered. 

From there he re-entered Montenegro and walked along the main road trying to find a car that would pick him up and drive him to Pljevlja, but no cars stopped for him and he walked for six hours to return to the city.