Croatian police have deported to Bosnia and Herzegovina two Nigerian students, treating them as illegal migrants despite the fact that they have arrived in Croatia with valid visas, BiH media said on Tuesday.
Croatian police would not comment for Hina on this report by phone, requesting the query be sent in writing.
Abia Uchenna Alexandro and Eboh Kenneth Chinedu, both 18, are now in Velika Kladusa as illegal migrants, the BiH website Zurnal said.
The students from Federal University of Technology Owerri arrived in Zagreb from Nigeria on November 12 to participate in the World InterUniversities Championships in Pula. After competing in the table tennis tournament, they left for Zagreb where, on November 18, they were to have flown to Lagos via Istanbul.
They told Zurnal reporters that having returned to Zagreb they went to a hostel and then took a walk. Exiting a tram, they were stopped by police, who apprehended them because they did not have identification documents, which they had left in the hostel.
"They took us to a police station. We tried to explain who we were and that our documents were in the hostel. They paid no attention to what we were saying," Chinedu was quoted as saying.
Officers than put them in a van and told them they were taking them to BiH, he added. As it turned out, they took them to the border where, together with several other persons, probably illegal migrants, they chased them away to BiH.
News of what happened to the two Nigerians reached the InterUniversities Sport Committee, which organised the championships in Pula. Committee representative Alberto Tanghetti told Zurnal there were five Nigerian participants in the championships, four students and one professor, and that they all had visas.
"Those two students were in the championships. They had a Croatian visa, round tickets from Zagreb to Istanbul and from Istanbul to Lagos," he was quoted as saying.
"Seven days later I received a call from the camp that they had two students from Nigeria whom Croatian police had taken to BiH. I don't understand how that could happen because the police in Pula were notified that they were here," he added.