Monday, June 12, 2006

43 Muslim Bodies Dug Up In Bosnia -Forensic Team

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP)--Forensic experts who excavated a mass grave in eastern Bosnia have recovered the remains of 43 Muslims killed by Serbian forces at the beginning of Bosnia's 1992-95 war, the head of the team said Wednesday.
The exhumations from a mass grave in the northeastern Bosnian village of Buk Bijela were completed Tuesday afternoon and "we found 43 bodies," the head of the team, Dr. Zdenko Cirhlaz said.
"All bodies will be analyzed and DNA samples will be taken. Only then we will know the age and sex of the victims as well as the exact cause of death," Cirhlaz said. He added that all the victims had their hands tied behind their backs, which indicates that they were executed.
The mass grave in Buk Bijela was discovered near the local hydroelectric power plant, 10 kilometers north of the town of Foca.
The bodies were found in a tunnel that was used before the war for soil porosity examination. After killing these Muslims from the town of Foca, the Serbian military forces planted mines in the tunnel to bury the entrance, Cirhlaz said.
Experts extract DNA from the bones and match it to the blood of relatives of the missing. So far thousands of victims from the 1992-95 Bosnian war have been identified using this method.
Over the years, U.N. and local forensics experts in Bosnia have exhumed more than 16,500 bodies from more than 300 mass graves. Thousands of people remain missing and are presumed dead.
About 260,000 people were killed and 1.8 million driven from their homes during the war, which pitted Bosnia's Muslim Bosniaks, Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs against one another.

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