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Jovan Divjak, Defender Of Sarajevo, Dies Aged 84

Former Bosnian general Jovan Divjak, who defended Sarajevo during the infamous 44-month siege, died Thursday in the 84-year-old Bosnian capital.

Divjak was one of the few Serbs who fought for Bosnian troops during the devastating 1990s interregional conflict that tore the former Yugoslavia.

Divjak, a multi-ethnic Bosnian champion, died after a “long illness,” his organization said.

Former Yugoslav military officer Divjak was a member of the Bosnian territorial defense force when the conflict broke out in Sarajevo in April 1992.

He soon joined the ranks of defenders of Sarajevo. Sarajevo has been besieged for nearly four years.

At least 10,000 inhabitants were killed during the war.

“It was natural to be with people who were attacked and who didn’t have weapons,” Divjak told AFP in 2017, rejecting the “good Serbs” label.





Divjak was one of the few Serbs to fight on the side of the Bosnian army
AFP / ELVIS BARUKCIC

“The idea of ​​a multi-ethnic Bosnian army fascinated me,” he added.

However, disappointed with the spectacular funeral organized after the conflict with the Sarajevo thugs suspected of summary execution of Serbs, he abandoned his position as a general in 1999.

Divjak then devoted himself entirely to his association, giving thousands of scholarships to orphans and children in poor families.

He was awarded the Legion of Honor by France in 2001 for “his civilism, prejudice and refusal to discriminate against ethnic groups”.

Until his death, Divjak remained a fiercely anti-nationalist. His role in the war was badly seen by most Bosnian Serbs who regarded him as a “traitor.”

Serbia demanded the surrender of Divjak in a 1992 attack on a Yugoslav convoy withdrawing in Sarajevo.

The former general denied the claim and claimed to have ordered the filming to be stopped. This claim seems to be supported by the television footage of the time.



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