“In our city, 25 years ago, a total of 102 children were killed. They were killed because their existence stood in the way of the ideology of separation of peoples and ethnically pure country where there was no place for those who were not Serbs,” stated activists of the Initiative “Jer me se tice (Because I care)” from Prijedor.
These are the facts, and it is also the fact that the city authorities do not allow families of murdered children to make a monument in the city center with the aim of paying tribute to that children.
“Our fellow citizens, citizens of Prijedor, especially young people, should not take the burden of crimes that were committed by some older fellow citizens, not even in the case that those are fathers and grandfathers of some of them. The current government is putting that burden on them and they will do that to their descendants as well,” stated activists.
They added that Prijedor recorded some difficult periods in its history, in which citizens of Prijedor have suffered a lot. They were persecuted and killed because of their identity or beliefs.
“This is not a question of politics. Monument to children that were killed in Prijedor is not “Bosniak question”, nor a question of nationalism. This is a question of humanity and ending this paralysis in which the city is choking ever since the war, and it is a question of what kind of Prijedor we want to live in. If Prijedor is your city, then the White Ribbons Day is your fight. Join us”, as stated in the invitation to citizens from the Initiative “Jer me se tice (Because I care)”.
After the violent takeover of power in Prijedor, on the 31st of May 1992, non-Serb population in the municipality were ordered in the media to display white armbands and white sheets on their houses. This invitation was an introduction to crimes that took place afterward. Years later, in BiH, as well as a number of European cities is marked the White Armbands Day, symbolic date in memory of the murdered residents of the area of Prijedor.
The propaganda campaign that was carried out by pro-Serbian media at the beginning of the war in Prijedor helped to polarization of the population of the municipality on an ethnic basis, created an atmosphere of fear, but also laid foundations to specific crimes and inhumane actions.
On the night before the 28th of May, on Radio Prijedor was broadcasted the show called “Open talks on the security situation in the municipality of Prijedor”, with the main topic – whether there will be a war in Prijedor. Host of the show was the chief editor of Radio Prijedor, Muharem Nezirovic. His guests were the presidents of the main parties in the municipality: SDS, SDA and HDZ. At the end of the show they sent the message that there should not be war in Prijedor.
However, the next day, Serbian forces took control over all municipal institutions, and all the legally elected representatives were dismissed, and the President of the Municipality Muhamed Cehajic was literally driven away in front of the building. On Radio Prijedor was announced:
“Dear citizens, in order to protect the Serbian people, the Crisis Staff of the newly formed Republika Srpska was formed and we invite you to be loyal to the Serbian authorities in the municipality of Prijedor, which provides full security for life.”
On the 31st of May 1992, Radio Prijedor invited all Muslims and Croats to mark their homes with white flags or sheets, and when moving in public places to wear sleeves with white ribbons in the loyalty and trust to the Serbian authorities.
Unfortunately, instead of calling for the protection and safety, the aim was to find out who is who and where he lives. As a result, there were large shootings, mass killings, plundering…
Later on, the propaganda of Radio Prijedor and Kozarski Vjesnik was reflected in the fact that the leaders of the SDA in Prijedor and other prominent non-Serbs were qualified as criminals and extremists who should be punished for their behavior.
Even then was known: whoever was called in Kozarski Vjesnik and Radio Prijedor in 1992 – was liquidated.
According to official information from the associations of victims, in Prijedor was killed a total of 3,173 civilians, while 31,000 people were detained in the camps around Prijedor. From late May to late August 1992, 102 children and 256 women were killed in Prijedor. The largest number of those killed, namely 842, were found in mass graves Tomasica and Jakarina kosa.
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