On September 7th, a group of 21 people-on-the-move – allegedly all minors – were pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia in the remote border area outside of Velika Kladuša. The primary respondent making this report was a 16-year-old child from Afghanistan.
According to the respondent, him and the rest of his group were initially apprehended in Croatia, close to the border of Slovenia. They had made their way to this location on foot in the previous week from Bosnia. They described being initially apprehended by two officers (1 man, 1 woman) who both wore dark blue uniforms. These officers made them sit and took their shoelaces during which time they searched their belongings. They called an additional six officers who then came, these officers were also wearing dark blue.
These officers took them to a police station in different vehicles. The respondent described that when they arrived to the police station, him and the rest of his group underwent a processing procedure during which time his picture was taken as was his personal information including his name, his parents’ names, and where he was from. His finger prints were also taken in this station and he was made to sign a paper in a language that he did not understand.
The group was kept at this police station for two nights (around 48 hours in total) without regular access to food or blankets. During this time, he was asked by the officers why he was there and told not to come back; he told the police he only wanted to pass through, but they told him he could not.
After two days, the group was loaded in a vehicle driven back to the Bosnia border with Croatia. At the border, somewhere in the general area of Velika Kladusa, the respondent described that he was taken out of the vehicle and told to run back into Bosnian territory. During this time, he described that the police officers discharged a spray on his eyes and he “ran away very fast.”