On Thursday 3rd November the respondent, a 22 years old man from Burundi, was pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia, together with a group of 14 people in the surroundings of Glinica, Velika Kladuša.
“En apparence, ce n’était pas violent” (Apparently, it was not violent )
On the 3rd November, the transit group left Glinica at 3 am towards the Croatian border. The transit group consisted of 8 men from Burundi, 3 of them minors (14, 16 and 17 years old) and the rest of them between 18-35 years old men. Reportedly, the group members walked for 4 hours to then cross Croatian border. then, they walked for around 2 hours int Croatian territory. They were then apprehended by 2 people described as a woman, dressed in a light blue jacket and the other as a man, dressed in dark blue, almost black clothes. They are referred to by the respondent as “Croatian Border Police“. The officers reportedly intercepted them on a small road in the forest, described as a countryside road, with little stones.
As the respondent describes the scene, the transit group members heard a shot in the air, they got scared, turned around and reportedly saw 2 officers approaching them. The respondent declares that, when the 2 officers saw they were scared by the shots, they started laughing.
“quand ils tiraient au ciel, et nous, on avait peur, il se mettait à rigoler. Ils faisaient ça pour pur plaisir” (when they saw that we were scared of the shots, they would start laughing. They did it for pure pleasure)
Reportedly, the members of the transit group raised their hands and sat down immediately. The people referred to as officers did not touch any of them.
Once they were all sitting on the ground, one of the police officers took their police car closer to them: the car is described as a Toyota Land, white with a blue stripe on it. The respondent believes that they were hiding somewhere in the car to catch them by surprise. Once the car was parked next to them, they were asked to give their phones to the officers and did not have them back until they were dropped off at the border again. Likewise, they were searched and all the electronic devices were taken from them; their bags were also searched.
The respondent recalls that they were guarded by the officers for around 40 minutes, until a police van appeared carrying two more people identified as police officers, dressed in the same dark blue clothes. As the respondent declares, he already knew these 2 officers, as they were involved in a former pushback he had experienced.
Reportedly, the transit group was asked to get into the van, where a group of 4 men from Burundi was already sitting. Once in, they were driven for around 1 hour until they arrived at the Croatian border near Glinica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The respondent declares that they were lucky, because they did not have to walk for long to get back to their destination.
“Cette fois ci on a eu de la chance. Ce qu’ils font normalement c’est de nous emmener dans une frontière loin d’où on est pour qu’on marche pour rentrer” (This time we were lucky. Usually they try to leave us as in a border far from our houses, so that we have to walk to get back)
Once the vehicle stopped, the respondent states that they were dropped off in the sorroundings of Staro Selo Topusko, Croatia. Reportedly, the police officers walked them to the Bosnian border, told them to go back and gave back their phones in a bag. The group then started to walk towards Bosnia, and once they walked for 10 minutes and lost sight of the police officers, they checked their phones. That’s when they noticed that the big power banks were missing and that the charger hole of the phones was smashed, so that they could not charge their phones anymore. After 30-40 minutes walking they reached Glinica again.
The respondent declares that this same evening he met another group who was pushed back and that they told him that the police officers smashed all the screens of their mobile phones.