PRIJEDOR, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Several thousand people attended a funeral service in Bosnia on Saturday for 86 Muslims who were slain by Serbs in one of the worst atrocities of the country’s 1992-95 war.
Relatives of the victims, religious leaders and others gathered at a soccer stadium near the eastern town of Prijedor, standing solemnly behind lines of coffins draped with green cloths.
The victims ranged in age from 19 to 61. They were among some 200 Bosnian Muslims and Croats from Prijedor who were massacred in August 1992 on a cliff on Mt. Vlasic known as Koricanske Stijene.
The victims were shot and killed by the edge of the cliff, their bodies falling into the abyss. The Serbs later threw bombs onto the bodies, which made identifying the victims difficult.
The United Nations war crimes tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia sentenced several ex-Bosnian Serb policemen for separating civilians from a convoy of people being deported from Prijedor and killing them.
Armin Suljanovic buried some of his brother’s remains Saturday alongside bone fragments that were previously identified and laid to rest. Suljanovic said his wife’s brothers and father were also being buried after the joint service.
“My relatives and I have been suffering for the past 27 years. It is a painful destiny to have, but now, at least, we’ll know where they are buried, we’ll have a place to visit to say a prayer for them,” he said.
More than 3,000 Bosnian Muslims and other non-Serbs were killed in Prijedor during the war. Many were taken to prison camps where they were beaten, starved and tortured.
Bosnian Serbs have been accused of carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing during the war, expelling non-Serbs from the territories they controlled during the war such as Prijedor.
More than 100,000 people died in the war in Bosnia and millions were left homeless. The conflict erupted after the breakup of the former Yugoslavia turning Bosnia’s Serbs, Muslim and Croats against each other.