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White Armband Day in Prijedor – Outcry for a memorial for the murdered children

Text: Alma Zukanović, Photo/Jer me se tiče

SARAJEVO, May 31 (FENA) - More than 1,000 parents of the murdered children of Prijedor, citizens and activists of the informal group "Because it concerns me!" (Jer me se tiče), today marked the White Armband Day on the main town square in Prijedor, in memory of the persecution and murder of 3,176 citizens, of whom 102 children in the last war.

One of the organizers of the marking, Edin Ramulić from Prijedor, told FENA that in addition to marking of the war crimes, the citizens gathered today demand from the city authorities to finally build a deserving memorial to the murdered children of Prijedor in 1992.

"Our goal is a dignified memorial that honors the murdered citizens of Prijedor," he said.

Ramulić stressed that the parents of the murdered children requested from the local authorities to reconstruct the bridge between the old part of the city and the downtown Prijedor into a memorial bridge to the murdered children, but that, due to institutional discrimination, the authorities dismissed the initiative.

“However, it is very interesting to know that the built memorials to the fallen soldiers of the RS Army were also not part of the regulatory plans of the City of Prijedor,” he stressed.

On 31 May 1992, Bosnian Serb wartime authorities in Prijedor issued an order through local radio station that the non-Serb population is ordered to mark their homes with white flags or sheets and not to leave their homes without wearing white armbands.

"Serb citizens, join your army and the police in pursuit of these extremists. The rest of the citizens, Muslims and Croats, must place white flags on their homes and windows and wear white armbands or will suffer consequences," it was announced on Radio Prijedor on 31 May 1992. It was the beginning of unprecedented slaughter which resulted in killing of 3,173 innocent civilians.

Many citizens of Prijedor who heard the call were found in October 2013 in the largest mass grave that the world has yet seen in the village of Tomašica.

The White Armband Day is being marked in Prijedor and entire BiH and the region in memory of non-Serb victims of Prijedor and its surroundings.

According to official information from victims' associations, 3,173 civilians were killed in Prijedor, whereas 31,000 people were imprisoned in war camps around Prijedor.

The Research and Documentation Center in Sarajevo stated that 5,209 citizens of Prijedor were killed or went missing in direct military actions in the period between 1991 and 1995, of whom 4,093 Bosniaks, 898 Serbs and 182 Croats.