BANJA LUKA – Sunday marks 21 years since the Croatian armed forces attacked western Slavonia in an offensive code-named Operation Flash, which resulted in 283 Serbs, including 55 women and 11 childred, being killed or going missing on May 1-2, 1995.

Veritas Documentation and Information Center says that on May 1, 1995, some 16,000 members of the Croatian armed forces attacked 15,000 residents in western Slavonia, which was defended by about 4,000 soldiers and was under UN protection.

Remembering the suffering of the Serbs in Jasenovac, the notorious WWII Ustasha concentration camp and in the Pakrac Valley, also the notorious neo-Ustasha camp of 1991, the people decided to leave their homes to save their lives, starting a great exodus, says Veritas.

On the way to “the bridge of hope” across the Sava River, they were falling dead to plane bombs, Malyutka missiles from helicopters, artillery shells and sniper bullets, and those wounded were ran over by tanks or finished off with knives.

After the operation was completed, the Croats picked up 168 bodies of the Serbs killed and buried them, mostly with an NN tag. Over the last five years, the remains of 145 people from mass or individual graves have been exhumed and 86 of them have been identified.