Dump excavated in hunt for Bosnia's war dead

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The Independent Online

Investigators began searching a rubbish dump in south-east Bosnia yesterday for the bodies of about 60 Bosnian Muslims believed to be buried there.

Investigators began searching a rubbish dump in south-east Bosnia yesterday for the bodies of about 60 Bosnian Muslims believed to be buried there.

The excavation at Nevesinje, in the Serb-held part of the country known as Republika Srpska, follows the exhumation of a mass grave in Visegrad, further north on the banks of the river Drina, where the investigators found 50 bodies.

The victims at Nevesinje and Visegrad were killed at the beginning of the 1992-95 war between Bosnia's Serb, Muslim and Croat communities, when well-armed Serbs overran more than two-thirds of the former Yugoslav republic. Thousands of tons of rubbish will have to removed from the dump before the exhumation can begin.

The work of locating Bosnia's war dead is far from complete. Of the estimated 200,000 war dead, some 20,000 are still missing. The majority - 17,000 - are Muslims; about 2,500 are Serbs. Five years after the Dayton peace deal, the missing are almost certainly all dead, buried, like the men and women of Visegrad and Nevesinje, in pits and ravines all over the country.

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