Two Nigerian students, Abia Uchenna Alexandro and Eboh Kenneth Chinedu, accused the Croatian police of chasing them into Bosnia. And now the country’s authorities will be returning them to their homeland. As Bosnian Minister of Security Dragan Mektić explained to N1 Bosnia, the two students will be returned to Nigeria because that is what they want.
Bosnia Official Claims Students Afraid of Returning to Croatia
“They have agreed to enter the so-called AVR voluntary repatriation program. With their consent, we can return them to their country of origin without subjecting them to additional procedures, readmissions, etc.,” Mektić noted.
The minister also explained that the possibility of readmission (i.e. return to the country where the immigrants were staying before entering Bosnia) was not considered.
“They expressed a great fear of returning to Croatia and worried that they would be further harassed there. They were simply afraid for their own lives,” Mektić claimed. He added that the two Nigerian students chose not to seek asylum in Bosnia.
Croatian Police and Hostel Manager Deny Students’ Account
Recall that the Nigerian students, who came to Croatia without rackets to play table tennis for a sports competition in Pula, claimed that the Croatian police abducted them in Zagreb on November 17 or 18. According to their uncorroborated account, the Croatian police transferred them to the green border of Bosnia and then expelled them there under threat of violence.
However, the police claim that the Nigerian students “officially checked out of the HI Youth Hostel on November 18, paid their expenses, took their travel documents and possessions, and left for an unknown destination.”
The police also noted that another student (in the group of five) tried to enter Slovenia twice and applied for asylum in Croatia on November 27.
The hostel manager confirmed the police account and disputed the students’ claimed check-in and check-out dates. He also disputed the students’ claims that an unidentified “friend” retrieved the students’ passports from the hostel after their alleged disappearance.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairperson of Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), also responded to the students’ claims on Saturday, after their story, which originally appeared in Žurnal, was picked up by The Guardian and then The Cable in Nigeria.
“It’s not as straightforward as you have reported, but the Minister (of Foreign Affairs) has personally intervened,” she wrote.
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