Croats Mark 1993 Convoy Killings in Central Bosnia

On Thursday, Croats gathered on the 1,600-metre mountain, some 15 kilometres from the small town that carries the same name, to commemorate the attack on what was the 20th 'convoy of life' bringing aid to the Lasva river basin, split at the time between government and Croat forces called HVO.

"They were mostly old people with horse carriages and who offered to transport food, supplies and refugees from other areas that were trying to escape conflict," said Marinko Cosic, 53, president of the union of HVO veterans in Busovaca and organiser of the memorial event.

Three decades on, the population of Busovaca remains almost equally split between Croats and Bosniaks, just as it was in 1991 when Yugoslavia began falling apart. Its ethnic composition almost unchanged, the town of some 18,000 represents a rarity in Bosnia.

"We help each other when needed and without questions," said another HVO veteran, Andjelko Tomicic, 52. "People live as we lived before everything happened."

No choice but to 'move forward'

Former HVO veteran, Andjelko Tomicic. Photo: BIRN/Azem Kurtic.

At the time of the ambush, the Bosnian government forces portrayed the convoy as a legitimate target, claiming they had inflicted "heavy losses" on the HVO.

Cosic conceded that "some HVO soldiers" had secured the convoy, but that most of the victims were civilians.

"There were people from the areas of Tuzla, Brcko, who were trying to reach HVO territory and then continue towards the west," he told BIRN.

Busovaca had escaped the worst of the fighting and, according to Cosic, Croats and Bosniaks continued to mix even during the war.

"We were living the good life here," said Cosic. "There were cases where we would...

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