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1 February 2016
News

Witnesses Describe Apprehension of Civilians from Strpci Train Station

Albina Sorguc BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A state prosecution witness testified at the trial of ten former Bosnian Serb fighters charged with kidnapping civilians from a train in Strpci and murdering them in February 1993.

State prosecution witness Slobodan Icegic, a former train dispatcher at the Strpci railway station, said he was having coffee and reading newspapers, when three or four soldiers in camouflage police uniforms barged into his office.

Defendants Luka Dragicevic, Boban Indjic, Petko Indjic, Obrad Poluga, Novak Poluga, Dragan Sekaric, Oliver Krsmanovic, Radojica Ristic, Vuk Ratkovic and Mica Jovicic have been charged with kidnapping 20 passengers from a train travelling from Belgrade to Bar on February 27, 1993. The victims were allegedly abducted from the railway station in Strpci and killed later on in Visegrad.

According to the charges, Luka Dragicevic was the commander of the Second Podrinjska Light Infantry Brigade in Visegrad, Boban Indjic was the commander of the Interventions Company of the same brigade, while the other defendants were members of the Interventions Company or the First Company of the First Battalion of the Second Podrinjska Light Infantry Brigade.

Testifying at today’s hearing, former train dispatcher Slobodan Icegic said he estimated that a total of 30 armed soldiers were at the train station the day of the abduction. He said one of the soldiers asked him when the Belgrade-Bar train was scheduled to arrive. After checking the schedule, Icegic said he informed the soldiers that the train would arrive with a one hour delay.

“They requested that the train be stopped at the station,” Icegic said.

He said the soldiers told him that weapons and deserters were smuggled on the train.

Icegic said he wanted to inform dispatchers and the police about the train being stopped, but the soldiers wouldn’t allow him to do so. He said one of the soldiers said, “Don’t risk your life!”

According to Icegic, the train arrived at around 3:30pm.

“I noticed that some passengers were taken off the train...I only saw some passengers coming out and them receiving them and sending them to each other. They passed by the railway station building before proceeding down there,” Icegic said.

According to Icegic, the passengers were civilians. “A black guy, a Creole” was among them, he said. Icegic said he didn’t notice his colleague Fikret Memovic until he shouted, “Slobo, my brother, help me!”

Icegic said he went out to the platform, but a man in a police uniform cursed at him and asked him if he wanted to be taken away as well.

Icegic said a military truck pulled up behind the building and that he was the only one who stayed behind at the station.

State prosecution witness Ramiza Mulic also testified at today’s hearing and confirmed that her father, Adem Alomerovic, was taken off the same train. She said their family found out that some passengers were kidnapped after the train had been stopped in Strpci.

“It was a shock I wouldn’t want anyone else to experience. I found it unacceptable to take people away and kill them,” Mulic said. She said her family is still searching for her father, even though 23 years has passed since his disappearance.

The trial will continue on February 12.

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