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Skelani massacre

Skellani massacre
Part of Bosnian War
LocationSkelani, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Date16 January 1993
Deaths40 to 65
PerpetratorsArmy of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Skelani massacre refers to the killing of between 40[1] to 65[2] Serbs in Skelani (villages Ćosići, Žabokvica, Toplica i Kalimanići) near Srebrenica by the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ARBiH), eastern Bosnia, on 16 January 1993.

During Bosnian War, the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) attacked Bosniak cities and villages in eastern Bosnia, as part of its "six strategic goals" of "eliminating the Drina river as a border" between Serbia and Bosnian Serbs. Although the Serb forces took control of Zvornik, Bratunac, and Vlasenica municipalities during the first half of 1992, pockets in the surrounding area remained outside of their reach, with Bosniaks offering resistance.[3] The Serb forces started the siege of Srebrenica. Between April 1992 and March 1993, the Srebrenica areas were constantly subjected to Serb military assaults, including artillery attacks, sniper fire, as well as occasional bombing from aircraft.[4]

The Bosnian Serb forces controlled the access roads and forbade international humanitarian aid to reach the Srebrenica enclave, not even allowing food and medicine as relief. As a consequence, there was a constant shortage of food. This starvation peaked in the winter of 1992/93. In order to overcome this shortage, the Bosniaks occasionally stormed nearby Serb villages in search for food, often risking dying or being wounded from land mines or Serb fire.[5]

On 16 January 1993 soldiers of the Bosnian army, led allegedly by Naser Orić, attacked the village of Skelani. Dozens of Serbs were killed in the attack. According to Serb sources, around a hundred Serbs were wounded, while 30 people were taken prisoners and beaten.[2]

The Bosniak forces almost reached the border with Serbia, but were stopped a kilometer within Skelani due to an intervention by the Yugoslav Army and Territorial Defense units from the Užice Corps. The Bosniak forces came so close that some were even machine-gunning Serb civilians fleeing across the border to Bajina Bašta, Serbia.[6]


In the village of Skelani in 2005 erected a monument for 305 Serbian civilians who were killed during the war (1992–1995).[7] The monument claims that 32 children were among killed.[7] 2013 Bosniak presidency member Bakir Izetbegovic laid flowers at the monument to Serbian victims in Skelani.[7]


  1. ^ Kovačević, Slobodanka; Dajić, Putnik (1994). "Chronology of the Yugoslav Crisis, 1942-1993". Institute for European Studies. p. 141. ISBN 9788682057024.
  2. ^ a b Sekulić, Marinko (29 January 2019). "Ubijeni na kućnom pragu" [Killed on their doorstep] (in Serbian). Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  3. ^ Prosecutor v. Karadžić – Judgement, 24 March 2016, p. 2031
  4. ^ Prosecutor v. Orić – Judgement, 30 June 2006, pp. 38-39.
  5. ^ Prosecutor v. Orić – Judgement, 30 June 2006, p. 42
  6. ^ CIA 2002, p. 386
  7. ^ a b c "Скелани - споменик у Скеланима - ФОТО - СРНА".