PODRINJE / EASTERN BOSNIA CASUALTIES 1991-1995
- Quick Summary:
- Bosniaks: Civilians: 16,940 / Military: 7,177 / Total: 24,117
- Serbs: Civilians: 870 / Military: 4,703 / Total: 5,573
In "Human Loses in Bosnia-Herzegovina: 1991-95", the Research and Documentation Center (RDC) in Sarajevo lists 29,752 people as casualties of the Bosnian War in the Drina Valley of eastern Bosnia known as Podrinje. Clueless researchers may easily jump into conclussion that all these people died in Podrinje, but that's not true. The figure simply refers to the pre-war Podrinje residends who were either killed or missing in the Bosnian War, with the exception to Srebrenica.
The Center defines Podrinje as: Bijeljina, Bratunac, Cajnice, Foca, Gorazde, Han Pijesak, Kalinovik, Rogatica, Rudo, Sekovici, Sokolac, Srebrenica, Ugljevik, Visegrad, Vlasenica, and Zvornik. The region of Podrinje, however, does not have well defined borders. For example, although the Drina River is part of the municipality of Bijeljina, most locals would tell you they are part of Semberija region.
Remember: The figures above simply reflect the numbers of pre-war Podrinje residents who were killed in the Bosnian War either at home or other parts of Bosnia. Take a look at some examples:
MILITARY / EXAMPLE: Thousands of Serbs from the Podrinje region, who joined the the Bosnian Serb Army (e.g. Romanija Corps, Drina Corps, etc), fought in other parts of Bosnia. They participated in the killings of more than 10,000 people - women, children, and the elderly - in the besieged city of Sarajevo and they also carried out massacres of at least 8,372 Bosniaks during the Srebrenica Genocide. Thousands of these Serbian extremists died in the combat while attacking the besieged Bosniak cities, massacring Bosnian Muslim civilians, stepping on a minefield, or getting ambushed by the soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina (ARBiH). Thousands of these Serb soldiers (they were worst of the worst) died in other parts of Bosnia, but since they lived in Podrinje, they are reflected in the figures of Podrinje casualties. Get it? Let's take a look at another example:
CIVILIANS / EXAMPLE: Alija, Slobodan, and Franjo from the municipality of Zvornik - which happens to be located in the region of Podrinje - found themselves trapped in Sarajevo and they tragically died there as a result of the Serbian terrorism (see terror cases: Galic and Milosevic). Now, shouldn't they be counted as the victims of the Sarajevo siege? Not according to the Research and Documentation Center in Sarajevo. In this example, Alija, Slobodan and Franjo would still be counted as casualties for the Podrinje region. However, there is one exception:
EXCEPTION: The only exception is Srebrenica. People killed on the territory of the municipality of Srebrenica are reflected in the figures of casulaties for that municipaltiy. For example, according to the RDC data, ~95% of all killed in the municipality of Srebrenica where Bosniaks. The data shows 8460 Bosniaks and 480 Serbs killed on the territory of Srebrenica from 1991-95. Here is a breakdown of the casualties for the municipality of Srebrenica:
Bosniaks: 6565 civilians + 1895 soldiers
-- Note: Most Bosniak soldiers, if not all, died as Prisoners of War. Bosniak civilians were deliberately targeted for destruction.
Serbs: 151 civilians + 329 soldiers
-- Note: Most Serb soldiers, if not all, died while attacking and massacring Bosniak civilians around Srebrenica. Serbs civilians died in clashes between heroic defenders of Srebrenica led by Naser Oric and cowardly Serbian thugs led by Gen. Ratko Mladic. Bosniak forces never targeted Serb civilians and Naser Oric took a great care to avoid or minimize civilian Serb casualties in defensive military operations around Srebrenica.
Proper Context: DNA research supports the figure of 8,100 Bosniaks massacred during the Srebrenica genocide. Serbs dug out many Srebrenica Genocide mass graves and re-buried Bosniak victims in other municipalities. That is why RDC's research does not show higher figure for the genocide victims.
Now, back to the casualties "from" Podrinje. Of 29,752 casualties "from" Podrinje (remember, thousands of Serbian Chetniks died in other parts of Bosnia, but they are still listed as casualties of Podrinje) here is a breakdown for Civilian and Military casualties:
-- CIVILIANS: 16,940
-- MILITARY: 7,177
Explanation: Bosniaks did not even have a proper 'military' to defend themselves against the Serbian onslaught in eastern Bosnia. In most cases, Bosniaks used hunting riffles and ambushes to defend themselves against extremely well armed Serbs who were supported by the lion's share of weapons inherited from the Yugoslav People's Army. Additionally, families of the thousands of Bosniak civilian victims re-branded their loved as 'soldiers' so they can obtain financial help from the Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In reality, Bosniak 'military' loses constituted civilians who used hunting rifles or other primitive weapons to defend their families from Serbian modern-day fascists.
-- CIVILIANS: 870 (Mostly died as a result of the Yugoslav Peoples' Army's onslaught on Podrinje and heavy artillery shelling of overhelmingly Bosniak cities, like Zvornik, Bratunac, Visegrad, Vlasenica, etc.)
-- SOLDIERS: 4,703 (Mostly died in other parts of Bosnia while actively participating in the campaign of the ethnic cleansing and massacres against the unarmed Bosniak population.)
Others: 53 Civilians and 9 Soldiers.
RDC's PowerPoint Presentation (Podrinje)