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Bosnia remembers Srebrenica victims in moving ceremony

World | 2018-07-09 16:37:00
Bosnia remembers Srebrenica victims in moving ceremony
The remains of 35 Srebrenica genocide victims were placed on a truck laden with flowers in the Bosnian city of Visoko on Monday morning for their final journey to a cemetery.

The victims will be buried in the village of Potocari, northwest of the city of Srebrenica, on Wednesday to mark the 23rd anniversary of the genocide.

Even after 23 years, the remains of victims are still being discovered and funeral ceremonies still being carried out in Bosnia-Herzegovina. A total of 6,575 victims lie buried at the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial in Potocari.

Hundreds of people attended the ceremony in Visoko to bid an emotional farewell to the victims.

The blue truck carrying the coffins was covered with a large flag of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Hanifa Sehovic was among those who came to bid farewell to the victims although she has already buried her family members.

"Every year I participate, it feels very difficult to me. I do not have anybody here today, but all of these are our brothers and sisters, I buried my family. My father is not completely buried. We could not find his remains," said Sehovic.

Mensura Alic was also present at the ceremony.

"Today I am here because of these martyrs and my child who was among these victims," said Alic.

- Honoring the martyrs

After passing by a Sarajevo suburb Vogosca, the truck stopped in front of the Presidency building near a special memorial for children who were killed during the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995. Around 1,500 children were killed during the 1995 siege of Sarajevo.

Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina Husein Kavazovic led a collective prayer around the truck.

As the truck passed through the streets of capital Sarajevo, thousands of people, including women and children, could be seen crying. Many showered the truck with flowers and raised their hands for prayers.

Nearly 170 identified victims are in the Podrinje identification center in Tuzla, but mostly because of incomplete remains the families of the victims have not yet been buried.

The youngest victim of the genocide to be buried this year is Vesid Ibric, born in 1979, while the oldest victim to be buried this year is Sahin Halilovic, born in 1924.

Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces between 1992 and 1995 during the Bosnian War. Back then, Serb militias were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state.

The UN Security Council declared Srebrenica a "safe area" in the spring of 1993. However, Serb troops led by General Ratko Mladic -- who now faces genocide charges in The Hague -- overran the UN zone despite the presence of around 450 Dutch soldiers tasked with acting as UN peacekeepers.

The Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing about 2,000 men and boys on July 11 alone.

Some 15,000 Srebrenica men fled into the surrounding mountains but Serb troops hunted down and slaughtered 6,000 of them in the forests.
Anadolu Agency
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