Croatia’s Interior Ministry Reacts to “The Guardian” Article on Migrants

By 15 November 2018

ZAGREB, November 15, 2018 - The Croatian Interior Ministry issued a statement on Thursday following an article in the British newspaper The Guardian about the ill-treatment of migrants by Croatian police on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"We are appalled that the protection of the Croatian state border, which is carried out by the Croatian police only, is being discredited and connected to imagined paramilitary agents wearing secret insignia that operate on the border under cover of night, and the fact that the Homeland War is referred to as a revolt of Croatian Serbs deserves the strongest condemnation," the ministry said on its website.

In his query to the ministry, The Guardian's reporter Lorenzo Tondo mentioned migrants' accounts alleging that "some officers wear paramilitary uniforms with a badge depicting a sword upraised by two lightning bolts."

According to our sources, some of them are members of a Croatian special police formation set up around the ministry's existing special police air unit following an open revolt of Croatian Serbs against the government in Croatia. According to our sources, they may still be active as an anti-terrorist squad along the Bosnian border, the British newspaper said in its query.

The ministry said that within the Police Directorate there is a special police command as a branch of the Croatian police. "We have no knowledge of the operation of paramilitary agents which you insinuate. The Croatian state border is guarded only by Croatian police wearing their official uniforms and displaying the official insignia of this Ministry," the statement said.

"What you referred to in your query as an open revolt of Croatian Serbs against the government in Croatia is the liberating Homeland War which followed aggression by Serb rebels and the former Yugoslav army against a legitimate and democratically elected Croatian government. The Ministry of the Interior still remembers with the greatest respect 762 of its officers killed, 27 missing and over 3,600 wounded in the Homeland War," the ministry said.

For more on Croatia’s migrants policies, click here.