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Mass graves of Croatian people killed in 1991 in the villages of Tordinci and Antin

Šimun Penava

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 156 Kb

str. 595-628

preuzimanja: 2.410



Tordinci is a village situated north of Vinkovci at the left bank of the Vuka river, and is populated by the Croatian majority. It is surrounded by the villages of Ostrovo, Gaboš, Mlaka and Pačetin, where the Serbian national minority accounts for the majority of the population. Armed Serb civilians from these surrounding villages started provoking and attacking as early as the beginning of April 1991. The Serbian rebels set up barricades, they prevented people from entering Vinkovci, they attacked and robbed travellers, stopped busses and trains, shot at sanitary vehicles. The inhabitants of the two villages started organizing themselves around the National Protection Organization, which started arming and protecting the surrounded places. A makeshift road was made leading towards Nuštar in order to avoid the barricades in Ostrovo and to establish a passage to Vinkovci. The Jugoslav National Army (JNA) provides arms for the Serbian population in the surrounding villages, using even helicopters to that end. The armed guards provocatively wore chetnik marks and labels of «the Militia of SAO Krajina». During July and August of 1991 there were occasional mortar attacks on the villages, leaving casualties and big material damage behind. The village of Ćelije, populated by Croats, was attacked and levelled with the ground while Jugoslav National Army managed to evacuate a part of the population. The Vinkovci Red Cross organized the evacuation of women and children who were sent off to coastal areas, while at the same time members of the so called Militia of SAO Krajina took from Gaboš women and children of Serbian nationality across the Danube into Vojvodina. Until the end of September rebel Serbs, with the aid of the Jugoslav National Army never ceized to attack from the surrounding villages. After the entrance of the Jugoslav National Army and the Serbian paramilitary forces into the villages of Antin and Korođ, people also fled Tordinci, with only a few volunteers staying behind, who were joined by about a hundred members of the 109th brigade of the Croatian Army from Vinkovci. They organized a defense and managed to repel the attacks all until October 25th 1991, when the Armoured Units of the Jugoslav National Army and around 1000 infantry captured the village after fierce fightings. Croatian defense managed to destroy five out of 30 tenks and to incapacitate a large number of enemy fighters. They were forced to withdraw for lack of armour-piercing shells, with 8 dead and 9 wounded. The inhabitants, defenders and JNA soldiers were all burried by the JNA in a big mass grave in the center of the village not far from the Catholic Church. 37 people remained in the village of which 15 were Croats. The captured Croats saw the mass grave and recognized some of the casualties. Members of the UNPROFOR visited the site beginning of June 1992 and in Vinkovci gave the official number of casulaties; 208 bodies. During UNPROFOR’s mandate, the so called Krajina Military undug the grave and transferred the bodies into the fields outside the village. In May 1999 during the mandate of the Transitional Administration, the Government Office for the Missing Persons dug in the site in front of the Church and found 5 bodies, all of which were identified. In 2004 the expert team with the Office for Detainees and Missing Persons discovered the dislocated grave, exhumed 26 mortal remains, ofwhich only one has not been identified. The majority could be identified with the help of the clothes and personal belongings found; still a DNA analsis was run of the blood of the relatives. There were also individual exhumations in the cemetery, at the bank of the Vuka river as well as in the yards in the village itself. All exhumation has been performed with great expertise, was thoroughly documented, and archived in the Office for Detainees and Missing Persons with the Ministry of Family, War Veterans and Generational Solidarity in Zagreb. The village of Antin, populated by Croatians was completely surrounded. It is only separated from Tordinci by the village of Mlaka, populated by Serbs, who had persistently, since April 1991, inhibited exit from the village, who were shooting around even while working the fields, who took prisoners, stole vehicles and captured the passengers. People attempted to break out from Antin on September 29th, 1991, following a makeshift road leading towards Nuštar, but they were stopped by their neighbors from Mlaka, who on that occasion killed one and wounded several civilians. The people of Antin eventually accepted the ultimatum to turn over their weapons and they were provided safe passage through Markušica into the exile, on September 30th, 1991. Several civilians were captured and ended up in Serb concentration camps in Vojvodina and Serbia. Around 90 civilians remained in the village, around 30 of which were killed by members of the so called Territorial Defense from Markušica and Mlaka, reserve soldiers of the Jugoslav National Army, the Serbian Volunteer Guard and the Chetniks «Dušan Silni». Several mortal remains have been exhumed from a mass grave in Careva vikendica, some that had been burried in the graveyard, while others are still considered missing.

Ključne riječi

Croatian Homeland War; Tordinci; Antin; mass graves; refugees; the Yugoslav National Army (JNA); Serb paramilitary; exhumation; DNA-based identification; genocide

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