- 22 Jan 2021 01:33
My three fifty on the topic, anecdotal I guess but I was there for 2 years during the conflict in the core region of the three sided war, and had some direct on the ground observations and scrapes.
We lived about 20 mins drive north from Sarajevo. Family being Croat and Serb aka catholic and orthodox, we lived in a Muslim majority neighborhood of a mixed town - 40% catholic/orthodox: 60% Muslim with some gypsies. I keep the muslims tallied separately because they were the majority. After everything became militarized, to the east were bosnian serb lines. They were dug in the mountains. To the west on the mountains were Bosnian muslim lines. Croats played no significant military part here, it was bosnian serbs and bosnian muslims. They would fling rocket artillery across our town to their respective hills, and heavy machine gun (anti aircraft guns adapted for land targets) fire. That was the bulk of the exchanges. It was not possible to leave the area safely, bosnian serbs were blockading everything to the north and east, muslims to the south and west. There were no checkpoints, but if you got in a car and rive in any direction, snipers would start blasting your vehicle. We tried this once and never again after our little fiat came under fire from multiple directions multiple times on a road north-east. We were essentially part of the siege of Sarajevo, but besieged by circumstance by multiple armies. Won't get into details on how we escaped, and why, for now.
Some interesting observations about how fucky everything was. My dad a Croat who was head of police turned head of militia during the war, was tasked with protection detail of the Bosnian Serb leadership. He and a few hundred croats, bosniaks and serb JNA affiliated militia (italian/french style military police, not peasant guards lol) who had once worked for the town police force plus some new recruits would go and protect the Republika srpska president. While he was away, the muslims and serbs would duke it out with artillery and heavy weapons on their respective hills, sometimes stray shells would land in our town. I had 3 near misses and a scrape won't bother with the details. Anyway every time he returned from duty, if we had been under fire, he would lead a small detail of mixed troops on a runaround to all the hill/mountainsides with the dug in formations. There were thousands of troops up there. He would complain and put all of them on notice and get their names/details and who fumbled their trajectories and hit the town below. Then relay that to the various leaderships.
long story short this got him many enemies and the situational became untenable. he was just a) doing his job - he had been reassigned from police to protection duties and b) trying to keep his town and family safe.
Our town also had some scrapes with jihadist elements, they were not tolerated by most bosnians especially in the mixed communities, and could only really set up presence southwest of sarajevo. They spoke no serbo-croatian/bosnia, they were completely alien. These are the expeditionary forces the west most prominently supported. They cut off heads of women and children in villages with no overwatch. A ragtag group of arabic guys (saudis?) walked past my house and executed my dog - a new puppy so i wasn't too attached but still- in front of me while I was playing under an apple tree. I don't think they made it out of town alive after my dad came back.
The gypsies all vanished, they escaped the second the war kicked off. They were best positioned to do so with their nomadic lifestyle. They also returned and took all the houses that the bosniaks, serbs and croats had left behind when the war was put on pause. A gypsie family took two of our houses and our car. Clever little tricksy gypsies. Some random serbs live on our block of land south of town on their new home. Hey I don't blame them, if its undefended you take and steal when desperate then profit I guess. We've given up on those, got shit elsewhere anyway.
Now this town is 90% muslim and 10% gypsy. It's a shit hole and none of the services work. They burn dirty coal for heating every winter in 2020. Not a single street isn't without potholes. The town is run by a baron that steals every euro cent. Great work guys. Much effort perfect outcome such good democrazy.
Last edited by Igor Antunov on 22 Jan 2021 01:39, edited 1 time in total.
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