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Bosnia Officials Dig Up Remains of 50 Muslims

June 25, 1996|From Times Wire Services

SOKOLINA, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Bosnian government authorities Monday exhumed about 50 bodies they said were those of Muslims killed four years ago by Serb forces near Sarajevo.

Workers in rubber boots and gloves lifted skeletons with bits of flesh and clothing still intact from their mass grave beneath a meadow in a village about 20 miles north of the capital.

NATO peace troops, U.N. police and a forensic specialist representing the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague all observed the excavation.

"What we have here is an investigation of the killing of about 50 people in a bus in June of 1992," said William Haglund, the tribunal representative.

Emir Mujkic, one of eight men who survived the massacre, said that after being held for weeks, he and 54 other Muslim men were loaded onto the bus and told they were on their way to a prisoner exchange.

Instead, he said, the Serbs purposely destroyed the bus in a barrage of ordnance, including antitank rockets, near Sokolina, just southeast of Ahatovici.

"There were 55 of us lying down side by side, like sardines," he said. "Then from all sides, shells, small-arms fire and hand grenades began to be fired at us."

Bullets and shrapnel pierced Mujkic's hands, but he was not mortally wounded.

The Serbs left without checking for survivors; Mujkic and seven others waited for nightfall to escape through woods to a nearby Muslim village, whose residents buried the dead the next day.

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