Bosnian and Croatian anthems were sung at the beginning of the celebration of the establishment of the 103rd Croat Defence Council (HVO) brigade in Derventa where Croatian President Zoran Milanovic was present along with the Croatian Consul in Banja Luka, and the Republika Srpska (RS) entity Vice President Davor Pranjic and numerous other dignitaries. Pročitaj više
The meeting was held with the protest of a group of citizens of Derventa of Serb ethnicity. The Mayor of Slavonski Brod, Mirko Duspara, noted that the Dervent region is “one of the bloodiest battlefields of the homeland war.”
“Three brigades from Slavonski Brod alongside our Cobras helped here. These boys deserved not to be forgotten. We will not forget them if we return here and live in Posavina,” he said.
“Before the war, there were 24,000 Croats, and 23,000 Serbs, today there are about 2,200 Croats in Derventa. This is our pain, the pain of us warriors, who fought here,” said Marinko Kresic, the envoy of Croatian Defence Minister Toma Medved and a member of the General Assembly.
Josip Saric, a Croatian MP, addressed the audience and noted that tributes are being paid to the 650 dead and that another 40 missings are being searched for.
Nikola Subic Zrinjski received the highest award from the 103rd HVO Brigade and was awarded by the President of the Republic of Croatia, Zoran Milanovic.
“Brothers and sisters. I am coming to this area for the first time. I decorated the 103rd HVO brigade because it deserves it, the time for that was a long time ago. 650 people were killed, over a hundred Muslim comrades-in-arms, today they would be called Bosniaks,” Milanovic said.
“It’s a miracle that Posavina and Derventa defended themselves for several months. People from Croatia fought here. Those were the right decisions. The then enemy, Belgrade and the Bosnian Serbs were much stronger. That is why this was not a betrayal but a heroic fight,” he added.
Milanovic also pointed out that the Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia is important, that it preserves the balance in BiH and the status of Croats, Serbs and Bosniaks.
“Whoever wants to mess something up that would hurt our side, we will oppose them, but not by force, there is no time for that,” Milanovic concluded.