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The 27th anniversary of the fall of the UN Protected Area 'Žepa' to be marked on July 27

Tekst: Dževad Ćesko, FOTO FENA /

SARAJEVO, July 21 (FENA) - On July 27, a traditional prayer for the martyrs will be held in Žepa. The main event that commemorates the 27th anniversary of the fall of the Žepa UN Protected Area, the crimes committed in this area and the victims' suffering will begin at 10.30 am.

 

Ratko Mladić's forces of the RS Army began firing on the UN positions around Žepa on July 7, 1995, with the intention of scaring and driving out the Bosniak population.

Bosnian Serb forces opened fire on the UN checkpoint on July 9, 1995, and on Žepa on July 10. On the day of the fall of Srebrenica, July 11, a village near Žepa was shelled.

During three separate rounds of negotiations, representatives of the Bosnian Serb army tried to force the Bosniak population to leave Žepa, threatening them with an armed attack.

The first round of negotiations was held on July 13. On that occasion, the commander of the Rogatic Brigade, Colonel Rajko Kušić, accompanied by General Zdravko Tolimir, and representatives of the local Bosnian authorities met at the checkpoint of the Ukrainian UNPROFOR above Žepa.

Bosnian Serbs said, "Srebrenica has fallen and now it's Žepa's turn".

Tolimir offered the representatives of the Bosniaks from Žepa two possibilities: "evacuation of the entire population in the same way as was done in Srebrenica, or military action by the Serbs ensues".

The representatives of Žepa residents decided to reject such a proposal. Early in the morning of July 14, a large-scale attack was carried out on the Žepa enclave.

On the evening of July 14, 1995, Bosnian Serb military forces entered the pocket from the northwest, recaptured part of the territory and set fire to the villages.

On July 19, 1995, shelling and shooting at Žepa stopped, and Ratko Mladić met with General Rupert Smith from UNPROFOR in Han-Kram.

Mladić was accompanied by Zdravko Tolimir and Colonel Inđić.

At the meeting, they discussed Srebrenica and, among other things, the withdrawal of the Dutch battalion, the situation in Žepa and the freedom of movement for UNPROFOR and UNHCR.

Mladić stated that Žepa fell at 1.30 pm. that day, which was not true.

The second round of negotiations between representatives of the forces of Bosnian Serbs and Bosniaks from the enclave was held on the afternoon of July 19, 1995 at the Ukrainian checkpoint.

Mladić and Tolimir met with three representatives of the local civil authority from Žepa.

Bosniaks were required to surrender their weapons and place them under the control of UNPROFOR, and they would then be registered.

They will be considered prisoners of war until the exchange, which should take place within five to 15 days, and Mladić has guaranteed their safety.

Since the parties did not reach an agreement, on July 21, 1995, the attack on Žepa continued. The third round of negotiations was held on July 24, 1995.

Present were the representative from the Žepa enclave Hamdija Torlak, General Mladić, commander of the Rogatica Brigade Rajko Kušić and Zdravko Tolimir.

On July 24, 1995, around 6.30 pm., an agreement was reached on the evacuation of civilians from Žepa. The transport of women and children began on July 25, 1995.

On July 27, Žepa Defense Commander Avdo Palić and members of the War Presidency of Žepa Mehmed efendi Hajrić and Amir Imamović were captured at the UNPROFOR checkpoint. 

After the evacuation of civilians, hundreds of Bosniaks, most of them of military age, sought refuge across the Drina River to Serbia, where many of them were registered by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and were later released.

Other Bosniaks, who did not cross over to Serbia, made their way, through numerous ambushes, to the free territory under the control of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During the attack on Žepa and later during the breakthrough to the free territory, dozens of Bosniaks were killed.

(FENA) S. R.
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