VISEGRAD: Several thousand people gathered on Saturday in Visegrad to attend a collective funeral of 66 Muslims killed in the eastern Bosnian town at the beginning of the 1992-1995 war.
Under light rain, imams prayed for the dead before the bodies, found in a lake 15 years after the end of the war, were buried.
“In first months of the conflict, Serb forces killed my son, my husband, my two sisters, my brother and several other relatives, 13 in total,” said Meva Ahmetagic. One of her sisters and a brother-in-law were buried on Saturday.
The remains of the 66 had been found in 2010 during a search of Lake Perucac, into which the Drina river — marking the frontier between Serbia and Bosnia — runs.
The search was conducted after water levels dropped to an historic low due to repairs being carried out on a dam.
“The youngest victim buried is a boy who was three-and-a-half years old at the time. He was killed together with his mother, whose body unfortunately has not been found yet,” said Hedija Kasapovic, president of an association of families of victims missing from Visegrad.
“My only wish remains to find my son Samir. He was 17 at the time. I cannot even think of dying before finding him,” the 60-year-old woman said, bursting into tears.
After the funeral, the mourning procession went to a bridge over the Drina, where roses were thrown into the river in memory of victims of the conflict. Meva Ahmetagic threw 13 roses, one for each member of her family killed.
Between April and June 1992 Serb forces killed more than 1,500 civilians in Visegrad and surrounding areas, according to the Bosnian Institute for Missing Persons. Some 600 people are still unaccounted for.
According to survivors, a number of bodies victims were thrown into the Drina and washed down into Lake Perucac.
Before the war Muslims made up 60 per cent of the some 21,000 inhabitants of Visegrad. All survivors were expelled from their homes in a Bosnian Serb-led campaign of “ethnic cleansing” in eastern Bosnia. Crimes committed in Visegrad were particularly atrocious. People were locked in houses and burned alive, while hundreds of women were raped, according to findings of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.
Source: Gulf Today