Muslims Terrorize Serbs After Regaining Sarajevo

Sarajevo, Bosnia, the once prestigious city that was home to the 1984 Olympics, saw some of the worst fighting in the Bosnian war.

Serbs took the city early in the war, but partly as the result of October 1995 peace talks, transferred control of Sarajevo to the Bosnian government in March 1996. By that time, most of the Serbs living there had fled. Serb leaders had warned residents of Muslim and Croat vengeance. Other Serbs took a more forceful approach, burning apartments and factories to leave nothing behind for the Bosnian federation.

In the Sarajevo suburb of Ilidza, about 3,000 Serbs, mainly the elderly and sick, stayed in Sarajevo through the transfer of power. The predictions came true as hundreds of Muslim looters threatened, harassed, intimidated and robbed the remaining Serbs, under the watchful eye of international police monitors. Most of the remaining Serbs then planned to leave, further demolishing U.N. hopes of a multi-ethnic Bosnia.

"It is a shame, really a shame, that some of the people who have come from Sarajevo are behaving in the same appalling and outrageous manner as some of the Serbs were before they left," said police monitor spokesman Alexander Ivanko.

Serbs returning home from shopping have found their possessions carted off. Others have had to serve meals or give bribes to marauding thugs to convince them not to occupy their houses.

Source: March 14, 1996, New York Times News Service article, "As Sarajevo suburb changes hands, Muslim scavengers reign."