Up to 75 bodies reported found in Bosnia pit

SARAJEVO, Sep 3, 2000 -- (Reuters) Forensic experts have exhumed from a pit in eastern Bosnia remains of between 70 and 75 people, all believed to be Muslims killed by Serb forces early in the 1992-5 war, a Sarajevo daily reported on Saturday.

The Dnevni Avaz daily quoted the head of the Muslim State Commission for Missing Persons as saying that the experts were sure that some of the remains found in the 20-metre (65-foot) Paklenik pit belong to members of seven Muslim families.

"Amongst them are for sure the members of the Karaman, Kustura, Omerovic and Celik families from Visegrad and families Mujic, Krajina and Behlulovic from Rogatica," the daily quoted Amor Masovic, the head of the commission, as saying.

He was referring to two towns in eastern Bosnia whose Muslim inhabitants were either killed, forced to flee or expelled by separatist Serb forces early in the 43-month conflict.

The 15-day exhumation work in the pit near the Serb-controlled town of Sokolac, some 50 kms (30 miles) east of Sarajevo, had been concluded, the daily added.

Earlier this week, Masovic said his experts expected to find remains of more than 100 victims.

Some of the victims were disabled people and the remains of at least two children were also found, the newspaper said.

The remains were covered with soil, rubbish and animal bones but the experts said the identification would be eased by the low underground temperatures which helped preserve documents and clothing.

Between 20,000 and 30,000 people, mostly Muslims, remain missing after the war which claimed some 200,000 lives.

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