Duša massacre

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Duša massacre
Location Duša near Gornji Vakuf, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Date January 15, 1993 (Central European Time)
Target Bosniaks
Attack type
Mass Killing
Deaths 10
Perpetrators Croatian Defence Council (HVO)

The Duša massacre was a massacre of Bosniak women and children committed by Croats in the village of Duša near Gornji Vakuf. It was committed on January 15, 1993. Around ten civilians were killed in an artillery attack.[1] This massacre is also referred to as the "forgotten massacre" as there is still no single conviction against the perpetrators. After the massacre, Croat soldiers entered the village to celebrate it, captured the rest of villagers, trasported men to camps in Prozor, Trnovača and Paloč, and razed the village to the ground.[2]


Gornji Vakuf is a town to the south of the Lašva Valley and of strategic importance at a crossroads en route to Central Bosnia. It is 48 kilometres from Novi Travnik and about one hour’s drive from Vitez in an armoured vehicle. For Croats it was a very important connection between the Lašva Valley and Herzegovina, two territories included in the self-proclaimed Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia during 1992-1995 Bosnian War. It was first attacked by Croat forces on June 20, 1992, along with Novi Travnik but the attack failed.[3]

Gornji Vakuf shelling[edit]

On January 10, 1993, just before the outbreak of hostilities in Gornji Vakuf, the Croat Defence Council (HVO) commander Luka Šekerija, sent a "Military – Top Secret" request to Colonel Tihomir Blaškić and Dario Kordić, (later convicted by ICTY of war crimes and crimes against humanity i.e. ethnic cleansing) for rounds of mortar shells available at the ammunition factory in Vitez.[4] Fighting then broke out in Gornji Vakuf on January 11, 1993, sparked by a bomb which had been placed by Croats in a Bosniak-owned hotel that had been used as a military headquarters. A general outbreak of fighting followed and there was heavy shelling of the town that night by Croat artillery.[3]

During cease-fire negotiations at the Britbat HQ in Gornji Vakuf, colonel Andrić, representing the HVO, demanded that the Bosnian forces lay down their arms and accept HVO control of the town, threatening that if they did not agree he would flatten Gornji Vakuf to the ground.[3][5] The HVO demands were not accepted by the Bosnian Army and the attack continued, followed by massacres on Bosnian Muslim civilians in the neighbouring villages of Bistrica, Uzričje, Duša, Ždrimci and Hrasnica.[6][7]

See also[edit]