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OTR Bosnia, Volume 7, Issue 4

May 20, 1999

EXILE IN CROATIA, RETURN TO BOSNIA
 
The First Returns Are Met with Stones

The International Community's Reservations
 
From the editorial Desk
 
Emsuda Mujagic is the leader of a nongovernmental organization (NGO), Srcem do Mira (Through Heart to Peace), which is based in Sanski Most. This organization works for reconciliation among the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims of northwestern Bosnia. It also runs programs to support Muslims in the Sanski Most area who have been displaced from nearby Prijedor and Kozarac.
 
One of its most important goals is the return of displaced persons to Kozarac, Emsuda's home town. About 5,000 houses were destroyed in Kozarac, and Srcem do Mira has been pressing to return since the end of the war. In 1996 a convoy of members returned to Kozarac for an assessment visit, but they were met by a hostile crowd of people who threw stones. In 1997 they returned with SFOR (the NATO Stabilization Force) accompaniment.
 
The security problem is heightened by the fact that nearby Prijedor has been a notorious center of obstruction. It was the location of some of the worst concentration camps in the Republika Srpska (RS). The first war crimes suspects were arrested there in 1997; however, after the split in the SDS (Serb Democratic Party -- hard-line Serb nationalist party) in 1997, and the subsequent election of Milorad Dodik as RS prime minister, inter-entity travel became significantly easier in this northern half of the RS.
In this issue, Emsuda tells Peter how she managed as a refugee in Croatia with her husband and two children, Adis and Alisa; how she formed Screm Do Mira; how she went back to Bosnia to live in the town of Sanski Most -- nearer home in Kozarac, but still on the other side of Bosnia's ethnic divide.