Exactly 24 years ago, 1993. the Army of Republika Srpska had accepted, fed, healed and settled thousands of Croatian soldiers and civilians who were fleeing from central Bosnia due to Bosnian Muslim offensive.
Pressed by the offensive of so-called Amy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, – vehemently supported by the infamous Mujaheddin squads – the Croats from Upper Vakuf, Bugojno, Travnik and all places and villages from the area decided to seek salvation among Serbs, who were considered until then and later, their enemy.
“In the summer 1993. about 1,520 people, of whom 450 Croatian Military personnel arrived to our positions in Komar. The first night one man came out; it was the commander of a HVO unit, with his wife and two children. He was seriously ill, with inflammation of the spleen, and his wife was pregnant. She delivered in Banja Luka,” says Nedeljko Budiša, one of the Serbian soldiers from Donji Vakuf, then Srbobran , witness of these events.
” Our (Serbian army) command immediately approved their admission; the Serbs equipped schools in Torlokovac for these refugees. They remained there until the Red Cross registration. Each and every person got medical care, food and everything they needed,” says Budiša.
Wounded Croatian soldiers and civilians were taken to Serbian hospitals. There have been cases when the wounded Serbs voluntarily waited for medical care so pregnant Croatian women could give birth to children.
Many of them returned to Croatian army . Some took part in the so called ‘Storm’ and ‘Flash’ operations, two years later, when Serbs were murdered and wiped out from these areas, and when the situation reversed.
Croats found safety and shelter in Serb areas, August 1993.
In the same valley of the Vrbas, where Croatian civilians two years earlier found shelter and safety , in 1995. Croatian army shelled and set on fire a bus full of Serbian civilians.
” When they escape to save themselves we accepted them with open heart; they swore to eternal brotherhood and love then… But later … they forgot it all” Budiša waved somewhere behind her back with melancholy but still without remorse.
There’s a documentary about the above described event: