The Interior Ministry on Tuesday responded to a news item about the illegal deportation of two Nigerian students to Bosnia and Herzegovina, saying Croatian police did not have their legal departure from Croatia on record and that they did not know how they ended up in BiH.
Abia Uchenna Alexandro and Eboh Kenneth Chinedu, both 18, have told Bosnian website Zurnal that Croatian police deported them to BiH, treating them as illegal migrants despite the fact that they arrived in Croatia with valid visas.
The police told Hina that five Nigerian citizens - four students and their supervisor - legally entered Croatia on November 12 and took part in a sporting tournament in Istria County, and that the supervisor and one of the participants in the tournament legally left Croatia via Zagreb's airport, while one applied for asylum in Croatia.
The two Nigerian citizens mentioned in the media checked into a Zagreb hostel on November 16, checking out on the 18th, settling their debts, taking their things and documents, and going in an unknown direction, ministry spokeswoman Marina Mandic said.
The police have no record of their legal departure from the country so they cannot say how they ended up in BiH, she added.
She said the police were checking if this was yet another attempt by foreign citizens to abuse attending a sporting tournament in Croatia.
The fifth Nigerian citizen arrived at a Zagreb police station on November 18, saying he lost his passport, and was given a decision to leave the country, Mandic said. However, she added, he came back to the station on the 27th and said he wanted to apply for asylum, and he is now at the Porin reception centre for asylum seekers.
Mandic said that in the meantime that person tried to enter Slovenia "but was sent back."
The students from Federal University of Technology Owerri arrived in Zagreb from Nigeria to participate in the World InterUniversities Championships in Pula. After competing in the table tennis tournament, they left for Zagreb from where they were to have flown to Lagos via Istanbul on November 18.
Alexandro and Chinedu are now in Velika Kladusa's Miral camp as illegal migrants. They told Zurnal that police officers had put them in a van, took them to the BiH border where, together with several other persons, probably illegal migrants, they chased them away to BiH.