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Series 10: Do not forget
GENOCIDE IN SANSKI MOST
According to 1991 census, Sanski Most had 60,307 residents, of which 28,136 or (46.65%) were Muslims (Bosniacs); 25,363 or (42.05%) Serbs; 4,322 or (7.16%) Croats; 1,247 or (2.06%) Yugoslavs, and 1,239 or (2.08%) Others. Crimes against Bosniacs started in Sanski Most with the forcible takeover of the authorities by the Serb forces. These events were preceded by the return of the 6 Light Partisan brigade of the Yugoslav National Army, which was engaged in the aggression against the Republic of Croatia in 1991. The command of that brigade, along with the attached units was stationed in Lušci Palanka. Upon the return of this brigade, its units were deployed to engage in the attack against Bosniacs and Croats who lived in the Sanski Most municipality.
On 20 April 1992, this unit forcibly took over control over the most important objects in the town. At the same time, they assumed the full control over the roads. In their attacks against the settlements of Muhići, Mahala, Otoka, Hrustovo, Vrhpolje, Kljevci, they massively killed Bosniacs. Supported by the Serb police, they also arrested the top leaders of SDA.
In early June 1992, Serb forces completely occupied the Sanski Most municipality.
Serb forces shelled civilian objects, which resulted in the death and injuring of many civilians. They plundered and destroyed property, separated men from women and they were all taken to the in advance organized places of incarceration. Prisoners were exposed to killing, physical and psychological ill-treatment. First massive killing was carried out on 31 May, when the Serb forces, in the hamlet Begići, village of Kljevci, killed all the men. They carried out murders along the road to Sanski Most, and on one occasion they also killed many civilians on the bridge in Vrhpolje. Bosniacs were forced to jump to the Sana river from the bridge, and then they were in the river. Those who were not shot were forced to jump again from the bridge (some of them jumped six times). In addition to killing and beating of Bosniacs, many Bosniac women were raped.
Crimes against Bosniacs were particularly committed in the camps and other places of incarceration. There were more than 20 camps and other places of incarceration in the territory of the Sanski Most municipality. The prisoners were subjected to physical and psychological torture, they were killed, expelled, and rapes were committed too. The situation in Sanski Most did not differ from other places of Bosanska krajina: killing, incarceration in the concentration camps, primarily for the political and intellectual elite, that is, for the political leaders. The holders of political functions in the Part of Democratic Action were particularly in these lists for execution and incarceration. Inhumane treatment against civilians was particularly explicit in the camps: company Betonirka, company Sanakerm, Sport hall, police building, factory Krings, and others. Physical and psychological tortures were followed by deprivation of water, food, and sleep. A large number of camp inmates from Sanski most were taken to the camp Manjača, where many of them died. Military police was beating prisoners in that camp with sticks, cables, batons, and similar objects.
Massive killing took place in Lušci Palanka, where many Bosniacs were killed. Majority of men were taken to the camp Manjača. A vast number of people was expelled from their homes. During the aggression all the mosques and catholic churches were destroyed in Sanski Most. They destroyed 27 mosques and 4 catholic churches.
Killings, torture, plundering and devastation of property, owned by Bosniacs and Croats, were continuously carried out in the period 1992-1995. In addition to the year 1992, the worst period was in the eve of liberation of Sanski Most. In September 1995, a certain number of Bosniacs was killed in several locations. In the village of Sasina, 60-70 people were killed. Killings were carried out in Sanakeram, Kruhari, Tomina, Trnova, Vrša, Okreč, and Došće.
In the period between 18 and 21 September 1995, Željko Ražnjatović Arkan and his unit imprisoned thirty men and one woman in a boiler room of the hotel Sanus, where there was no enough air, water, or food. They were also exposed to ill-treatment and beating there. On 20 September 1995, Arkan unit, Tigrovi, took twelve Bosniacs to the village of Trnova. They killed eleven of them in that location. The twelfth one was seriously injured. The bodies of the eleven killed Bosniacs were found on that site on 12 October 1995.
People were killed and their bodies were thrown to graves, irrespective of their gender or age. Thus, the bodies of those one-year old or nineteen-year old were found. The average age of the victims in seven mass graves was between 20 and 30 years, in ten mass graves between 30 and 40, in eight mass graves between 40 and 50, and above 50 years of age in only one mass grave. These records suggest that the primary objective of criminals was killing of men and women in their most productive years – physically, psychologically, and in terms of reproduction.
The killed Bosniacs of the Sanski Most municipality (around 800 genocide victims) were found in 30 mass graves. The biggest mass graves were Hrastova glavica and Sasina. A large number of Bosniacs permanently moved out of Sanski Most and lives throughout the world.
Sources of scientific knowledge:
1.Institute for Research of Crimes against Humanity and International Law, University of Sarajevo
2.Institute for Research of Genocide, Canada
3.The International Criminal Tribunal for areas of the former Yugoslavia
4. The International Court of Justice