SUN, 13 MAR 1994 21:24:17 GMT
The Homeland Calls
Summary: Shocking news about the situation in the barracks of the Army of Yugoslavia. Numerous murders shrouded in a veil of mystery - the enigma probably lies in Bosnia. The case of soldier Djeric, who was, according to military reports, killed at the same time in Subotica and in Belgrade! Were nine members of the Army of Yugoslavia recently killed in Vogosca? Dissatisfaction in Montenegro with the sending of recruits from this Republic mainly to Kosovo. Mobilization of refugees.
The thought of doing military service in the barracks of the Army of Yugoslavia is becoming a veritable nightmare for the recruits. It is supposed that over the past three yeras, about 300 thousand young men left Montenegro and Serbia so as to evade draft. News on the situation in the barracks in is shocking - mention is made of maltreatment, on different grounds, on orders and without orders, publicly and in secret, on hunger and almost anarchy in soldiers quarters. The series of murders last summer in the barracks in Vranje and Sabac when soldiers of Hungarian nationality killed Serb soldiers brought the already heated interethnic relations to the point of boiling. Mistrust in non-Serb soldiers increased in October last year when in the barracks in Danilovgrad ( about 20 km from Podgorica) a contact mine was activated, during military training, taking a toll of four lives. The culprit turned out to be an officer - Macedonian by nationality.
However, although state propaganda forces such an opinion, it is not the members of non-Serb nationality who are the source of trouble, irrespective of whether they are soldiers or officers: the tragedy of the family Djeric confirms that. What is in question?
Soldier Srdjan Djeric (Military Post 5920 Subotica), was killed, according to the military report on May 4, last year on the test range near the barracks in Subotica. The official version was: while soldier Djeric was in a transporter, his friend from the company took a grenade, activated it and killed Srdjan. Some time later Srdjan's parents got two notices of death - according to one their son was killed in Subotica, according to the other in Belgrade! Distress made the father Miodrag Djeric open his son's grave in the presence of a few relatives and friends on July 27, last year to find an unknown massacred body in it. The official military report stated that the body of his son had been carbonized. Things became even more mysterious when shortly after that Miodrag Djeric got information from Karadzic's Republic of Srpska that his son was alive! Their ordeals through courts started then. Djeric does not know where his son is, whether he is alive or not, and if not, where his body is. Chances that he is alive are smaller and smaller and his fate is linked to the territory of Bosnia, where contrary to official claims, the regular troops of the Army of Yugoslavia are still being sent, by will or by nill.
That is how it happens, like in Niksic recently, that parents get tin coffins with the bodies of their sons directly from Pale, although they were convinced that their children were in the territory of Montenegro. When they expressed their concern because they didn't hear for long from their sons, the officers reassured them that they were on "field exercise". There is reliable information that only in the fights at the beginning of February this year in the Sarajevo settlement of Vogosca, at least nine members of the 72nd Sabotage Brigade of the Army of Yugoslavia from Pancevo, were killed. All of them beardless young men.
Soldier S.M., who was recruited into the Special Purpose Corps says that the alert was sounded in the middle of the night, that the officer spoke shortly of the necessity of going to help their brothers over the Drina river, and that since no one answered his strict question "who doesn't dare go", all of them were sent to Bosnia. S.M. goes on to say that the financial benefits "were quite handsome" there, but that the fighting in Vogosca, in which they took part, was severe. He adds that his colleagues from the 63rd Paratrooper Brigade at the same time participated in the Serb offensive on the Bosnian defence lines near Olovo. Belgrade persistently denies this, but an obituary was recently published in the papers, stating that an officer of the Army of Yugoslavia had been killed in the "Bosnian war theatre". All subsequent refutations coming from the General Staff were unconvincing, because what is most tragic is that the delivery of coffins by night to the unfortunate families continues.
Former soldier D.B. from Kolasin, a town 70 kms north of Podgorica, speaks about the his unpleasant experiences in the barracks of Kursumlija. He says that at first assembly the troops sang Chetnik songs, that the officers were most often disheveled, frequently drunk, and also inclined to harassing the soldiers. Since he opposed that, he was "quartered" - four soldiers were assigned to "guard" him, but since he continued to complain, he was finally dismissed with a bad record. In that context, more and more is spoken about the dissatisfaction spreading through Montenegro because of the treatment of Montenegrin recruits.
This includes the fact that recruits from Montenegro are most often sent to the hot terrain of Kosovo. This was also confirmed by the latest writings of the paper "Vojska" ("The Army" - of January 27). A corvette captain Mihajlo Vujovic from the Niksic Military Department said that only 7% of the recruits from that area does military service in Montenegro, while half go to barracks in Kosovo. According to "Vojska" "monthly health check-ups and recruitment has been resorted to so as to get the better of the draft evaders and it will be proposed to legalize the prohibition of issuing personal documents without previous inscription in military records".
The "honour" to repay their debt to the homeland (Karadzic's Republic of Srpska in this instance) has also been conferred on refugees from Bosnia located in the territory of Serbia and Montenegro. This is considered an unheard of violation of international charters, and to make things even more tragic, the military police of the Army of Yugoslavia - which hunted refugees for Karadzic - did it through the Red Cross lists of Serbia and Montenegro. On the reverse of those summons it says: "Failure to report, will entail bringing in by the police, and charges". It does not say whose police, probably to "conceal" further proof of the involvement of Serbia and Montenegro, i.e. FRY, in the Bosnian conflict.
Vladimir JOVANOVIC AIM Podgorica