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They left them wearing just their underwear and their t-shirts

Date & Time 2023-02-17
Location Banja Luka area
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 44.9788125, 17.1343125
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age unknown
Group size 18
Countries of origin Afghanistan, Turkey
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 5
Violence used forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, forcing them to go back barefeet and without clothes in the snow in winter
Police involved 5 croatian police officers wearing green uniforms and carrying guns

On the 17th of February, around 7am, a group crossed the border from Bosnia to Croatia crossing the Sava River, in the area next to a Croatian village called Slavonski Kobaš. Near this village, they were apprehended by a group of men in uniforms which the respondent identified as police officers. The respondent is a 21 years old Afghan young man.

The transit group consisted of 22 people. All of them were Turkish men, except for the respondent, a woman with her 2children and her brother, who were Afghans. The respondent stated that everybody in the group was pushed back, except for the woman, her brother, and her 2 children, who were sent to a “camp” in Croatia.

The respondent also described that the people that apprehended the group were 5 men wearing green uniforms and guns. This description could likely match the uniforms usually worn by the Croatian special police unit.

Reportedly, the group crossed the Sava river, and walked for about 20 minutes before the officers apprehended them in Croatian territory, near the village of Slavonski Kobaš. The respondent explained that they were waiting for them with their dogs, who were barking.

When the officers apprehended the group, they had to wait for five minutes, and then they were asked to get into a van. The respondent stated that the officers drove the group across the border back to Bosnia, and that they reached the pushback location (somewhere close to Banja Luka) at 9:30am.  There, he explained that the men in uniforms took everything away from the group: their backpacks, phones and money. Furthermore, they stole their clothes and shoes, leaving them exposed to  the cold weather, wearing only their underwear and their t-shirts.

Afterwards, the respondent stated that the officers burnt their clothes in front of them. He recalled that the men were outraged and told them: “Don’t come back again!”. The respondent stated that walking back without clothes and shoes was even worse than violence and beating, because they suffered much due to the cold and the huge amount of snow.

The respondent explained that, eventually, a group of Bosnian officers found the group walking, and told them to go to Lipa reception center. As they did not have enough money to take a taxi to the camp, the officers drove them there.