Ethnic Serb refugees protest against evictions in Bosnia

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Apr 1, 2000 -- (Reuters) Some 4,000 ethnic Serb refugees from the Muslim-Croat controlled part of Bosnia and Croatia protested here Friday against their evictions from houses and apartments.

"We request a suspension of the evictions," Bosko Bajic, the president of an association of refugees and displaced persons in Republika Srpska, the Bosnian Serb-run half of Bosnia-Hercegovina, which organized the protest, told the crowd.

The protesters urged Republika Srpska's government to agree with the government of the Muslim-Croat Federation, on adopting a property exchange

legislation, which would enable them to remain in the region.

Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation make up post-war Bosnia.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees are still wait to return to their homes following the wars in Croatia and Bosnia. Many of the lodgings are occupied by other refugees, creating a problem which has blocked the whole return process.

Some 419,000 Bosnian Serbs and 60,000 Croatian Serbs who found their refuge

in Republika Srpska (RS) still live there, according to Bajic's association.

However, a poll led by the association showed that 95 percent of ethnic Serb refugees currently living in the Ruepublika Srpska wanted to stay there, compared to only 2.7 percent of those who said they would like to return to their pre-war homes.

The remaining 2.3 percent said they wished to go to other countries.

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