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Afghan migrants in Bosnia still hope to reach EU despite violent pushbacks

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VELIKA KLADUSA, Bosnia, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Several hundred Afghan migrants together with ladies, youngsters and a seven-day-old child have settled in a makeshift tent camp close to the border with Croatia, decided to proceed their journey to the European Union despite pushbacks and deportations.

“I don’t want to go back to my country ever again,” mentioned a person who recognized himself as John, a former driver for NATO in Afghanistan earlier than its Western-backed authorities fell to the Islamist militant Taliban in August after a 20-year battle. He mentioned he needed a greater life for his seven-month-old youngster.

Thousands of migrants from Asia, the Middle East and North Africa have been stranded in Bosnia since 2018, when EU nations together with Croatia tightened their borders.

Migrants repeatedly strive to cross the frontier in what they name “the game” however most are hustled again into Bosnia by Croatian police.

“Croatia police – a problem,” mentioned a person, displaying his arm in a solid. His good friend Rustam, 18, mentioned they had been each crushed by Croatian cops after they tried to slip throughout the agricultural frontier final week.

“They took my shoes and all things, beat me a lot, deported me back to Bosnia,” Rustam mentioned. “I walked 25 kilometres (15 miles) without shoes.”

Last week, Croatia acknowledged that its police had taken half in a violent pushback of migrants on the border with Bosnia, following stories by a number of European media retailers and a name by the EU government for an investigation. learn extra

The Danish Refugee Council, which displays borders as a part of its humanitarian well being and safety programmes in Bosnia, recorded 30,309 pushbacks of migrants from Croatia from June 2019 to September 2021.

“From the beginning of this year until now we saw (about) 7,200 cases of pushbacks, 25% of them we know…to be excessive use of violence,” mentioned Hector Carpintero, the DRC nation director in Bosnia.

Scattered by means of a muddy area on the outskirts of the northwestern Bosnian city of Velika Kladusa, improvised tents present little safety from worsening autumn chilly and rain.

But Afghan couple Farid and Adela mentioned they had been hopeful they’d finally make it to EU soil with their seven-day-old child.

“It’s absolutely impossible to live next to the people who live in such a situation and not to sympathise with them,” mentioned Zehida Bihorac Odobasic, an area instructor who visits the migrants each day bringing provides they want.

Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic
Editing by Mark Heinrich

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