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The horrors of the Bosnian war began for most of the women in early June and July when Serbian forces started arresting young men in the area of Gacko.Around 37 per cent of the region's 10,000 population was Muslim, although Muslims formed the middle classes and constituted a majority inside the town itself.Several four and five-year olds were held to a table while knives were placed at their throats in an effort to persuade their mothers to part with jewellery and money.Emira's elder boy, Hasan, trembles whenever his mother talks of the camp.'The Chetniks shouted at us: 'Look at how many children you can have. You are going to have our little Chetniks.' They said they weren't interested in women who were expecting babies because they couldn't make them pregnant.'Ziba, 26, mother of two, was among the first 12 women and girls to be selected by the Serbs at the Kalinovik camp. I asked if I would see Yasmin and Mirnes (her two infant boys) again and one of them said I would. We were all told to clean the hotel again and after we had done this they took us back to the gymnasium. The rapes went on day and night for a month.' The day was 2 August and all but 10 of the 105 women held prisoner in the gymnasium were to be gang-raped over the following 26 days, some of them by as many as seven Serb militiamen.'They called us 'bitches' and one of them pointed at me,' said Ziba. I was terrified they were going to kill the children while I was in the hotel. He said if I didn't do what they wanted, they would cut my throat. Their suffering was endured by thousands of other Muslim women in August and September of last year as Serbian forces 'ethnically cleansed' the Muslim villages of eastern and western Bosnia.As word of the killings spread to the nearby villages of Basici, Drugovici and Bahori, thousands of Muslim men and women fled in terror to the forests of the Zelengora mountains to the north.
A few guards stood at the doors with guns.' At first the women were not mistreated. They were crying and screaming for help but we could do nothing.'My two children were clinging to me and I was forced to leave them. What makes the ordeal of the Kalinovik women so important, however, is the extraordinary detail which is emerging of their mistreatment.They thought I was going to be killed.' Ziba and 11 other young women - the youngest, Sanela, was only 16 - were driven to Kalinovik's only hotel. After the food they told us to go with them to the rooms. Senad Saric, a gynaecologist from Gacko who has performed seven abortions on the survivors, has compiled a complete list of the names and ages of all the raped women along with those of five girls who were taken away by the Serbs and apparently forced to work as prostitutes. Survivors, living now in shell-damaged buildings in Jablanica and in the ruined city of Mostar on the Neretva river, have also recorded the names of young men who were brutally murdered in their presence and of the fate of at least 71 other women who were machine- gunned to death in a neighbouring village.She was only 17.' Ziba watched the other four being led from the gymnasium next morning; one of them had been kicked awake by a guard. All we heard afterwards was that they had been taken to a brothel in Foca.' Amna was 16, Suada 20. Almasa's mother, who was also raped, received a scribbled note from her daughter three weeks later. One of the latter, a veterinary surgeon named Suad Hasanbegovic, was repeatedly beaten by two guards nicknamed Bele and Mika.'They took Amela Greljo and her sister Jasmina and Amna Kovac and Suada Prguda. The women later saw him dragged to the wash room where, they say, he was drowned in a toilet bowl.