Al Jazeera World – Bosnia 1992: The Omarska Camp


Twenty-five years on, survivors of the Omarska concentration camp tell chilling personal stories of their incarceration and shocking treatment at the start of the Bosnian War.

By 1992, the Yugoslav Federation was disintegrating. Slovenia and Croatia had already broken away, sparking a conflict with Serbia. Further violence then broke out in Bosnia-Herzegovina which had also declared independence.

The Serbs there wanted to remain within Yugoslavia and build a greater Serbia – and received backing from extremists in Belgrade. Bosnian Muslims, known as Bosniaks, were driven from their homes in what soon became known as ‘ethnic cleansing’.

The first outbreaks were in northern Bosnia-Herzegovina in and around the municipality of Prijedor, where Bosnian Serb military and police unlawfully segregated, detained and confined several thousand of Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats.

Over four thousand people were killed between May and August 1992. While Serb forces set up hundreds of concentration camps throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina, Omarska was the most notorious and where a relatively few survived.

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