The respondent is a man from Syrian Kurdistan, who is 32 years old. On the 31st of January he crossed the border from Bosnia to Croatia with other 7 men from Syria, Egypt and Morocco, and one child who was 8 years old at that time.
The group crossed the border near Velika Kladuša during the night between the 30th and the 31st of January and arrived to the Croatian village of Vojnić at 4 am. There, the group was waiting for a bus, when four cars arrived. The respondent recounts that in the cars there were 7 men wearing black uniforms. The respondent further describes that he saw two black vans and two regular cars. The men who came out of the van were reportedly also wearing black ski masks which covered their faces, and all of them were armed with batons and fire arms. From the description of the uniforms given by the respondent, is reasonable to think that these men were part of the EPZ subunit of the Croatian Intervention Police. Reportedly, in one of the vans there were also two dogs. The respondent describes that everyone in the transit group expressed the intention to ask for asylum in the first moment, which is when the men started hitting them with their batons.
According to the respondent, the men in uniforms forced the group into one of the vans, and drove them to a nearby forest, where they ordered the group to get out of the vehicle. The respondent states that the officers hit them again with their batons, and that they had to hand over their belongings: their phones, money, and even their shoes.
At 7am, they were ordered to get into the same vehicle again. There, they had to wait for two hours. During this time, the respondent saw that more people that he recognised as people on the move joined them in the van. At 9 am, the men in uniforms drove them back to Bosnia.
The respondent does not remember exactly where the pushback location was, as he did not have a phone to consult the map, but he states that it was about 8 km away from Bihać, next to the Croatian border. The respondent explained that he asked the men if he could have his phone back, but one of the officers threatened to kill him with his gun and released a dog to attack him and the rest of the group.
The respondent managed to climb a tree to get away from the dog, but one of the members of his group was violently bitten by the animal. The officers were threatening the group with their guns telling them to go back. Eventually, the group managed to get away from them.