Bosniak Refugees Give Detail of Serbian Terror in Kljuc
The Cavalier Daily
8 October 1992.
By JOHN DANISZEWSKI
TRAVNIK, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Hasnija Halilovic said the Serb fighters came in the night, wearing black masks.
They lined up about 200 Muslim [Bosniak] women and children at gunpoint in three rows between a Muslim home and piled the house’s contents nearby, she recalled.
Then both the furniture and the house were set ablaze.
For four hours, with fires in front of them and behind, the women and children stood helpless, screaming and pleading for their lives. They cried. They choked on the smoke. Their captors taunted them, threatening to shoot.
Finally, they were let go.
“No one was killed, but they were beating us,” said Halilovic, 60, her blue eyes ablaze with anger.
The scene occurred two weeks ago in Kljuc, a norther Bosnian town where thousands of Muslims from surrounding areas have been herded into a ghetto since last spring.
Now, in another example of the process known as “ethnic cleansing,” the last Muslims are being expelled by Serb occupiers from their land and sent to Travnik, one of the few remaining Muslim-held cities in Bosnia.
A key part of ethnic cleansing is to instill terror, and the Serbs in Kljuc succeeded.
Halilovic’s daughter-in-law, Zijada, said teh shock sent her into labor. The infant at her breast, Rashid, was born the next day.
Dressed in a green scarf and five layers of shirs, sweaters and skirts, Halilovic stood Sunday with about 1,000 other bedraggled figures outside a decaying secondary school, now their temporary home in Travnik.
On this bleak, rainy day, they waited for their daily meal: rice.
This front-line Muslim city, squeezed into a narrow mountain valley adorned with a dozen minarets, has become a main refuge for people forced from their homes in Serb-controlled areas of Bosnia.
The city is patrolled by Croatian and Muslim troops, including units of the “Muslim Forces” who affect the bravado of Middle Eastern guerrillas by wrapping their heads in traditional headdresses.
There are now about 25,000 refugees in Travnik, normally a city of 35,000 said Meris Zulic of a humanitarian organization.