bosnia report
New Series No: 35 August - September 2003
The pressure on Bosniaks to leave Bijeljina continues
by B-H Dani


After several days of an intense campaign of threats to the Bosniaks of Bijeljina, aimed at forcing them to stop rebuilding their mosques and move out, conducted by way of posters, graffiti and other visual means, Dani sources report that the ethnic cleansers are now resorting to a more 'subtle' strategy. On 12 and 13 August the town's leading Bosniaks received discreet calls to announce immediately the sale of their homes, in this way warning other Bosniaks what they too should do, since Bijeljina must become the most Serb town in the world. Otherwise, they were warned, they would be forced to leave without having the opportunity to sell at all. The choice was up to them.

The Bosniaks, of course, have no one to turn to. The Bijeljina nationalist press, nurtured by generous international financial aid, remains as always silent on this issue. Bijeljina's mayor Dragomir Ljubović, despite his years-long rigid implementation of SDS policy, remains secure in his post. His lack of concern is due to the fact that, thanks to its geo-strategic location, Bijeljina is awash with money; that it acts as the financial capital of RS; and that the international colony in Bijeljina has always been the most corrupt segment of the international community in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The unfortunate Bosniaks of Bijeljina have little to hope from the Bosniak leaderships in Sarajevo either. In the notorious division of spheres of influence, Bijeljina is last on the list of Bosniak vital interests. This is why those in Sarajevo do not care that the eight thousand Bosniaks of Bijeljina have not a single representative in the municipal administration, education, the judiciary or other public services. It would not be surprising, therefore, if the latest threats against them were soon to be followed by a fresh tide of ads in the local press, offering to swap property in Bijeljina for property in Tuzla - urgently and at low price!

Translated from Dani (Sarajevo), 15 August 2003.


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