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"Shadow armies": Investigation finds illegal, violent pushbacks at EU border

DW, 09 Oct 2021
Would-be asylum-seekers, who try to cross the border into the European Union, are reportedly facing illegal and violent pushbacks. New investigations using video recordings and documents show an alleged orchestrated campaign by special police units in Croatia, Greece and Romania to forcibly keep migrants out.

At Croatia's border with Bosnia Herzegovina, investigative journalists found systematic use of force by special police units - funded by the European Union. As a European Union member, Croatia is required to allow any migrant entering there to apply for asylum in the EU.

Allegations of so-called "pushbacks" have been circulating for years. Journalists filmed one incident earlier this year. The footage shows masked men in uniform, and armed with batons, beating would-be asylum-seekers, apparently to stop them entering the European Union. One of the masked men could be heard shouting "Go to Bosnia".

The group of asylum-seekers were from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Medics from Doctors Without Borders later treated their injuries and said they were consistent with being struck with batons. The masked men did not wear badges, but they used equipment that active and former officers say is the same as Croatia's border police.

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