More than 200 Croatians killed by Serbs found in mass grave
From correspondents in Zagreb, Croatia
AUTHORITIES suspect they have found one of Croatia's largest mass graves, containing the remains of more than 200 Croats killed by Serb rebels in the country's 1991 independence war.
"We have known for years that a mass grave exists in this area," said Ivan Grujic, head of the government office for missing persons, referring to a meadow in the village of Tordinci near the country's eastern border with Serbia-Montenegro.
"Radar investigations show that the surface structure of the earth in the area has been transfigured and that the soil underneath has been dishevelled, indicating that something lies about a metre below," Grujic said.
Croatia has been carrying out extensive searches for thousands of persons missing since Croatia broke away from the former Yugoslavia in 1991.
The Tordinci site has been of particular interest to authorities after they found an empty mass grave in front of the town church. That grave allegedly held 208 bodies before the remains were removed and reburied at an unknown location.
Minority Serbs opposed Croatia's secession and took up arms, killing more than 10,000 people and seizing a third of the country's territory. Government troops recaptured the lands in a blitz offensive in 1995.
About 4000 victims have been unearthed from mass graves around the country. More than 1200 remain unaccounted for, Grujic said.
Some of the fiercest fighting between Croats and ethnic Serbs took place in eastern Croatia, where more than 50 mass graves have been discovered.
Grujic said full-scale digging should begin in the coming days, after geological and forensic experts determine the zone within which they expected bodies to be unearthed