86 victims of Bosnian war buried 27 years after massacre

Thousands of relatives from Bosnia and across Europe gathered in the village of Hambarine for the burial of 86 Bosniak Muslims on Saturday, 27 years after they were killed and dumped in a ravine in one of the most gruesome incidents of the Bosnian war.

Victims of the massacre were mainly prisoners from the war-era detention camps for non-Serbs near the town of Prijedor.

Before being lined up by the edge of the ravine and shot in August 1992, the prisoners were told that they were being released in a prison exchange. They were however driven to the Koricani Cliffs in central Bosnia, where the killing took place.

The remains of the victims, mostly male and many teenagers, were found in 2017 in a mass grave at Koricanske Stijene, a mountain region of central Bosnia.

The remains were found at the bottom of a cliff, in a natural pit, and were covered by an enormous amount of stones.

It was one of the most horrible episodes of the 1992-1995 inter-ethnic war in Bosnia that claimed some 100,000 lives.

Only a dozen of around 200 men survived the massacre, by tumbling or jumping down the steep, 100-meter-deep ravine. The victims were recovered under rocks piled over them to conceal evidence of the atrocity.

More than 20 years since the 1992-95 war which claimed 100,000 lives ended, Bosnia remains deeply divided, split into two autonomous regions joined by a weak central government.

Like many other war-related issues in the Balkan country, the event was ignored by Bosnian Serbs who deny their forces were responsible for large-scale crimes including killings, expulsions and unlawful detention of civilians and reject the rulings of international and domestic courts.

Feuding along ethnic lines continues to thwart the country’s ambitions of joining the European mainstream.

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