Survivors and family members of the victims marked on Tuesday the 26th anniversary of the slaughter of more than 100 Bosniaks who were killed in the village of Ahmici during the Bosnian Croat ethnic cleansing campaign in central Bosnia.
‘We are seeking the truth and building coexistence’ was the message under which the loved ones gathered in the village to commemorate the April 16, 1993 attack, in which 116 Bosniaks were killed, including 32 women and 11 children.
The families of the victims are still searching for the bodies of their loved ones.
Enisa Ahmic-Mulic lost numerous family members in the attack, including her father and two cousins. One of them was seven years old, while the other one was a three-month-old baby.
She remembers that her family was woken up by gunshots that morning.
“First a grenade dropped into our living room, and then they called out my father by name to leave the house. He opened the door and they led him out and shot him. They burned down our house and let my mother, me and my sisters go,” Ahmic-Mulic said.
Those who gathered at the commemoration once again, as every year, appealed for authorities to speed up the process of finding the remains of loved ones and identifying them.
“It is painful and sad that so many years after the tragedy 29 people are still registered as missing, and among them is my uncle, aunt and children aged seven and three months,” Ahmic-Mulic said.
“They were killed and set ablaze in their family home, and UNPROFOR (United Nations Protection Force) found them later and drove them to the old part of Vitez, where they were buried,” Ahmic-Mulic said.
The bodies were exhumed in 2005, which brought about a new set of problems, she said.
“Their remains are until this day in the cemetery in Visoko. I am continuing my battle and I will not give up as I want us to take over their remains and bury them, to finally put an end to the agony,” she said.
The ‘April 16’ citizens’ association expressed dissatisfaction because not all of those who are guilty of the Ahmici massacre have faced justice yet.
Six people were convicted for their involvement in the Ahmici massacre, five of them by the Hague-based International Court for Former Yugoslavia.
Dario Kordic, the commander, was sentenced to 25 years in prison but was released five years ago after serving two-thirds of his sentence.
Bosnia’s State Court also sent Pasko Ljubicic behind bars for ten years for his role in the massacre.
The marking of the Ahmici massacre this year began with a walk from the old part of Vitez to Ahmici, named ‘Path of the Truth and Memories’, which people from across the country take part in.
“We want to walk the road from Vitez to Ahmici honourably, so we remember all of the victims, from the three-month-old Sejo to the 82-year-old man,” said one of the organisers, Mujo Trako.