Zijo Ribić was the only survivor in the terrifying massacre in Skočić near Zvornik in May 1992. These days he has a reason to be happy. After 24 years, which he spent living in different places, from the home for children without parental care to Hotel Tuzla, he finally got a social apartment to use. The apartment is located in settlement Ši Selo in Tuzla and Zijo’s happiness is indescribable.
As an eight-year-old boy, Zijo witnessed the murder of nine members of his family – both of his parents, six sisters and a brother. The crime was committed by members of the paramilitary formation Simini četnici.
After the shooting he survived, with injuries on his left arm and neck Zijo was found by two Serb soldiers who took him to hospital. Then he was transferred to the institute “Simo Milošević” in Igalo, Montenegro, where he stayed for two years due to severe trauma and sleep disorder.
This 32-year-old man spent some time in Italy as well, and upon return to BiH he found a job as a cook in the Hotel Tuzla. Since he did not have a place to live, management of the hotel offered him to live in one of the rooms.
Couple days ago, Zijo’s life turned upside down – he received keys to a social apartment in the settlement Ši Selo in Tuzla.
The apartment was allocated to him through the public all for submission of requests for the lease of social residential units in Tuzla within the project “Social Housing System”.
The project was funded by the European Union, Hilfswerk organization from Austria, Ministry of Displaced Persons and Refugees of BiH, City of Tuzla and the Ministry of Labor, Social Policy and Return of the Tuzla Canton.
“When they told me I got an apartment I was truly surprised. They have been promising for several years now that I will get my own home one day, but everything stayed on words only. I must thank the Mayor of Tuzla Jasmin Imamović who publically stated in January that he will invest efforts to provide a home for me and he kept his promise,” said Ribić.
Once again, Zijo said that there is no place for hatred in his life. This witness of a terrible time says that he forgave the killers because he wants to live normally.