Sarajevo marks 27th anniversary of the first Markale Massacre

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Source: Armin Durgut/PIXSELL

Representatives of local authorities in Sarajevo, as well as the Croat member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, marked the Day of Remembrance dedicated to victims of the 1992-95 war in the city and laid wreaths at the Markale market, the site of the 1994 massacre in which 68 civilians lost their lives 27 years ago.

The first of the two massacres at the Markale, in the centre of Sarajevo, took place when a 120 mm mortar shell fired from a Bosnian Serb artillery position killed 68 residents and injured 142 in the downtown market.

“These people were completely innocent and the tragedy and that makes the evil that befell them that much greater, and of course it is up to us as people who live in Sarajevo to maintain the memory of them,” said Presidency member Zeljko Komsic, adding that, with this, “we are building a better Sarajevo.”

Hasan Banda, who survived the massacre, was among those who gathered at the Markale market as well.

“I happened to drop by the market that day to buy something for my children. At that moment, a shell fell on the market. I only heard crying, noise… After four or five hours I woke up in the hospital,” he said, adding that he will always remember that day.

Before they laid the wreaths at the monument at Markale, the chairmen of the Sarajevo Canton (KS) Assembly, the City Council and municipal councils, representatives of the KS Government, the Mayor and municipal mayors attended a commemorative session at the Sarajevo National Theatre to mark the anniversary.

“We gathered here today with the same goal, not to allow the veil of oblivion to cover the innocent victims of Sarajevo and the crimes committed by the aggressor. Today, Sarajevo will remember all those who gave their lives for freedom and their homeland,” said Elvedin Okeric, Chairman of the Sarajevo Canton Assembly.

He spoke about the crime that took place at the Markale market, explaining that “the largest massacre of the citizens of Sarajevo in the past war was chosen as a symbol and we mark it as a day of remembrance for all the innocent citizens of Sarajevo killed during the siege.”

Former member of the Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mirko Pejanovic, said at the session that “the Greater Serbia plan had the idea of ​​destroying the state of BiH and carrying out its ethnic division” and that former Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic, was at the helm of implementing that plan.

This led to the years-long siege of Sarajevo and the mass shelling and killing in the city in order to prevent the defence of the integral, internationally recognised Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said.

“Interreligious and inter-ethnic tolerance, which has been nurtured in Sarajevo for centuries,” has made the city “a brand of multinational life with widely known interpersonal and inter-neighbourly relations of tolerance,” he said.

He noted that the targets of the wartime shelling were not chosen based on ethnicity as “the victims of the shelling were all citizens and members of all nations.”

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