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One Man’s Tale of Horror With PM-Warped by War, Bjt

March 15, 1993

TUZLA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ Omer Karic is haunted by memories of a grisly ordeal that began when the Yugoslav army rounded up thousands of people in his town of Bratunac and handed them over to rebel Serbs.

When the torment of the memories became too much to bear, he sought help. Here are excerpts from what Karic told psychiatrist Alija Sutovic:

″They gathered us on the playing field, there were 4,000-5,000 of us. We didn’t expect anything bad because we did no harm to anybody. ... The army told us they came to Bratunac to prevent conflict between Serbs and Muslims fpom breaking out and that local Serbs will also lay down their weapons.

″... (Later they) took us to a nearby school gym, some 40 by 15 meters (yards) ... They pushed us back into a half of the gym. There were 700 of us. Then they drew a line with a chalk next to where we were standing. They said (those) crossing will be killed. And then they ordered us to sit down.

″Of course some people were pushed forward, and there was some guy named Bane (who) killed some 15 people with his gun.

″We sat like that the whole night (as) they threw firecrackers among us. In the morning, when they ordered us to stand up, nine of us didn’t. They died of exhaustion.

″Torturing and beating started that morning. I saw them smashing skulls with iron bars and axe staves.

″They were taking corpses to the dressing room and as it was filled, they ... ordered us to take the corpses outside and load them onto a truck. I did it twice. I was in blood up to my ankles.

″My only thought ... was ‘where are my wife and two children?’

″They took us to the imam (Muslim priest). He was ... asked to raise three fingers (in the Serb salute). He refused. They ... carved crosses on his skin with knives.

″On the fourth night, Savo Babic, a local Serb ... told us that they were leaving. Four hundred of the 700 of us survived ....

″They took us to Pale ... We stayed there for three days. They beat us less there, but there was no water.

″... On Saturday, we were exchanged. ... We all cried like little children. I found out 21 days later that my wife and children were also safe.″

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