Over 7,000 victims of Bosnian war still missing

By Vesna Besic and Lejla Biogradlija

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AA) – The bodies of more than 7,000 people have not been found although more than 20 years have passed since the Bosnian War, an official said.

Some 2,000 skeletal remains found in mass graves could not be identified, Bosnia’s Missing Persons Institute press secretary Lejla Cengic told Anadolu Agency.

"Some skeletal remains were completely destroyed. Therefore, some missing people will never be identified," Cengic said.

After the war, a total of 750 mass graves were found. During the war, the attacking Serb forces scattered body parts of the Bosnians so that mass graves could not be spotted.

Noting that there are more than 32,000 missing people across the country, Cengic said: “So far, skeletal remains of 25,500 people have been recovered."

The bodies of 760 victims from the 1992 Prijedor massacre and 1,000 others from the 1995 Srebrenica genocide have yet to be found.

More than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed after Bosnian Serb forces attacked the UN "safe area" of Srebrenica in July 1995, despite the presence of Dutch troops tasked with acting as international peacekeepers.

Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces who were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state.

The UN Security Council had declared Srebrenica a "safe area" in the spring of 1993. However, Serb troops led by General Ratko Mladic — who now faces genocide charges at The Hague — overran the UN zone.

The Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing about 2,000 men and boys on July 11 alone. Some 15,000 Srebrenica people fled into the surrounding mountains but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 of them in the forests.

So far 6,610 victims have been buried at the Potocari Memorial Centre.

Every year, the remains of more victims are identified and buried in Potocari on the anniversary of the genocide.

Nearly 170 identified victims are in the Podrinje identification center in Tuzla, but largely due to incomplete remains the victims have not yet been buried.

Hundreds of Bosniak families are still searching for missing people as a large number of victims were thrown into mass graves around the country during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War.

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