SARAJEVO – Nearly two decades after the 1990s war in Bosnia, new images of the grim war appeared after a new mass grave containing corpses of Muslim Bosniak victims with their hands tied behind their backs has been unearthed by the country's devastating floods.
“We unearthed four complete bodies whose hands were tied behind their backs and two incomplete bodies today,” Lejla Cengic, spokeswoman of the government's Institute for Missing Persons, told Reuters on Tuesday, June 3.
The secret mass grave has been first discovered by electricity workers who were repairing power lines on the outskirts of the central town of Doboj that was completely submerged with the floods.
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The victims are believed to be among 16 Muslims who were killed by Bosnian Serb forces in the area.
With other four victims found nearby during earlier exhumations,
As six victims out of 16 killed by Bosnian Serb forces are still missing, exhumations will continue to find other 6 missing corpses throughout the Bosna river in the flood-hit town.
“We assume the victims are Bosniaks from the nearby village Jablanica, the men aged from 19 to 57,” Cengic said.
The government spokeswoman added that bulldozers were used to remove mud form the river banks and “forensic experts cleared garbage and branches from the site”.
Bosnia fell into civil war in 1992, and that left 200,000 people dead with millions displaced as Serb forces launched ethnic cleansing campaign against Bosnian Muslims.
During the 43-month war, nearly two million people fled their homes, half a million of them are still listed as refugees.
In the final months of the three-year war, Serb forces, led by General Ratko Mladic, overran Srebrenica, killing some 8,000 Muslim men and boys.
Last October, a mass grave that has remains of 360 people was uncovered in north-western Bosnia Tomasica where Muslims and Croats were persecuted in the area by Serbian troops during a home-to-home search.
Before the mass grave at Tomasica was excavated Srebrenica had the largest Bosnian mass grave which held 629 corpses.
The devastating floods have added to the economic woes in Bosnia, leaving nearly 60% of its population jobless.
“The employment rate of Bosnia was at 40% before the flood, but now it is estimated that between 55% and 60% of the people are jobless,” Malaysian Ambassador to Bosnia, Anuar Kasman, told The Sun.
“This country depends a lot on agriculture. The flood had wiped out farms, destroying crops and livestock, and even destroying some 300 factories.
“It is supposed to be the start of summer now ... a time where the people here looked forward to start planting various crops.
“Many had taken loans from banks and other corporations to give them a financial boost, but everything has been destroyed and they have nothing left but debts.”
Tuesday’s mass grave discovery followed devastating floods that hit Bosnia last month when three months’ worth of rain fell on the Balkan region in three days, creating the worst floods since records began 120 years ago.
Thousands of people crammed into boats and army trucks have fled their homes in Bosnia and Serbia after record rainfall turned the Sava river into a deadly torrent and caused the worst floods in more than a century.
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