Two students from the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO)who went to participate in the the fifthWorld InterUniversities Championships, in Croatia have been deported.
Sources confirmed that the Croatian Police who saw the two boys walking on the streets asked for their identification documents and the boys said it was in their hotel room.
However, the Police not wanting to follow them to their hotel rooms subjected them to immediate deportation without further investigations.
According to the source “The 18-year-old table tennis players left Pula for Zagreb after the tournament, and were supposed to fly back to Lagos on 18 November. However, the night before their departure, while taking a walk in the Croatian capital they were stopped by two police officers who asked them for identification documents.
“We tried to explain who we were and that our documents were in the hostel, but they took us to a police station,” Chinedu told the Bosnian websiteŽurnal. “They paid no attention to what we were saying.”
The officers mistook them for undocumented immigrants, put them in a van and transferred them to the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina where, that day, Croatian authorities had gathered together a group of migrants intercepted as they were attempting to cross the country. Police ordered the group to move through the woods and intoBosnia-Herzegovina.
Chinedu who refused to obey the police men initially said: “I refused to go into the woods,” . “The officer told me he would shoot me if I didn’t move.”
Uchenna and Chinedu were eventually deported to Bosnia-Herzegovina and ended up in acamp in Velika Kladuša, where thousands of migrants are stuck in tents without water or heating with temperatures as low as -2C
The two Nigerian students could not make themselves understood and it took until the end of November before volunteers at the camp contacted representatives of the table-tennis competition to tell them Uchenna and Chinedu were trapped there.
“They told me two students from Nigeria were taken to Bosnia by Croatian police,” the organiser Alberto Tanghetti told the Guardian. “I asked them to send me photos and their names. After careful verification, we confirmed that those boys had participated in the tournament and had regular visas, issued by the Croatian authorities. I really don’t understand what happened, because even the police in Pula were notified that they were here.”Advertisement
He added: “It is even more absurd that no one believed the boys when they tried to explain to the police officers that they had regular visas. It would have sufficed to accompany them to the hostel to verify that they had entered Croatia legally.”