Families and friends bury 80 civilian victims of ethnic cleansing

Author: Associated Press, Brcko
Uploaded: Tuesday, 26 June, 2007

AP report from the autonomous district of Brcko in northern Bosnia on the funeral of some of the civilian victims of the 1992 genocidal assault by Belgrade-backed forces in 1992, found in a mass grave last year and since identified through DNA analysis

Up to 10,000 people attended the funeral Saturday of 80 civilian victims of wartime Serb ethnic cleansing in the northeast Bosnian city of Brcko. The bodies were among the 277 found last year in a mass grave near Brcko. They were Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats killed in 1992, at the beginning of the war. Forensic experts said skulls showed that many of the people were executed by shots to the head, some shot two or three times.

The remains of those buried Saturday were identified through DNA analysis and returned to their families, who decided to bury them together. The rest of the bodies from the mass grave are still waiting to be identified. Out of the 80 victims, 77 are Muslim Bosniaks and three are Catholic Bosnian Croats.

Edin Zahirovic, 25, came to bury his grandfather Hajro, who was 63 when he was killed in 1992. ‘I was 10 when they killed grandpa. Now after 15 years, at least I have a place where I can visit him and pray,’ he said.

Amira Vulin, 41, fled Brcko before the killing begun. She returned after the war and Saturday attended the funeral because some of her friends were among those who were buried. Vulin lost her father, uncle and two cousins. Their bodies have yet to be found. ‘My father was killed in front of our house in May 1992. A Serb friend told me after the war that the body was then loaded on a truck and taken somewhere, he doesn't know where. He also told me who killed my father and those who committed the crime are still living here,’ she said. ‘My heart is empty today, the same way the town is empty for all these years without all these people that are being buried today,’ she added.

More than 500 Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats from Brcko remain missing since the 1992-95 Bosnian war when Serb forces captured the town and expelled or killed non-Serbs.

This report was issue by The Associated Press in Brcko, 16 June 2007

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