Two Nigerian tennis players who traveled to Croatia for competition have been deported to an immigration camp in Bosnia by policemen who mistook them for illegal immigrants.
Abia Uchenna and Eboh Kenneth Chinedu, students at the Federal University of Technology Owerri were in Croatia for the fifth edition of the World InterUniversity Championships which held in Pula.
Uchenna and Chinedu arrived in Zagreb on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, and had returned after their competition before they were wrongly arrested.
The duo was due to fly back to Lagos on Monday, November 18 before they were arrested by the Croatian police the day before while taking a walk in Zagreb.
According to a report, the police had asked for identification documents which they failed to provide because it was back in their hotel.
“We tried to explain who we were and that our documents were in the hostel, but they took us to a police station,” Chinedu told the Bosnian website Žurnal.
“They paid no attention to what we were saying.”
Their trip went awry from there as they put in a van and transferred to the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina where they alongside a group of migrants who have been intercepted as they were attempting to cross the country, were taken back into Bosnia-Herzegovina where they were kept in a camp in Velika Kladusa.
“I refused to go into the woods,” said Chinedu.
“The officer told me he would shoot me if I didn’t move.”
Not helped by the language barrier, the two Nigerians stayed remained in the camp until the end of November before volunteers at the camp contacted representatives of the sports competition to i inform them of the whereabouts of Uchenna and Chinedu.
The organisers have since confirmed the identity of the Nigerians and steps have been taken to bring them back.