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Remains of more than 100 people found in a lake in Bosnia

Some incomplete skeletons have been exhumed from Lake Perucac in eastern Bosnia by forensic experts. The remains are thought to belong to 100 Muslims killed at the start of the 1992-1995 war by Bosnian Serb forces.

Lake Perucac

Lake Perucac was drained for the operation

The remains of around 100 victims found in a lake near the Bosnian-Serb border have been taken to be identified by DNA analysis. The head of the Bosnian Insitute for Missing People, Amor Masovic, told reporters in Sarajevo that he expected the process of identification to take between four and six weeks.

The bones were found in Lake Perucac, a reservoir on the Drina river, which marks the border between Serbia and Bosnia.

Fifteen forensic experts helped by more than 2,000 civilian volunteers and soldiers had searched the lake since mid-July, after the bed was drained of water.

The discovery is the latest in a series of exhumations of mass graves that have been carried out in the 15 years since the end of the war.

Ongoing operation

The authorities are trying to trace over 800 Muslims reported missing in the Visegrad region. They are thought to have been killed in 1992 in a bid to rid the area of non-Serbs. Masovic said he thought about a third of them may have been thrown into Lake Perucac.

Masovic said the operation was one of the most extensive since the search for victims began in 1996.

Veljko Odalovic, head of the Serbian commission for missing persons, said that it was crucial to identify the remains.

"I believe that establishing the fate of the missing is one of the most important issues and could be a key for the reconciliation in the region," Odalovic said.

Bosnia's inter-ethnic war in the 1990s between Croats, Serbs and Muslims, claimed an estimated 100,000 lives.

Around 10,000 people are still listed as missing, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Author: Joanna Impey (AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Chuck Penfold

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