Exhumation of genocide victims in Slap, Zepa
It was the Drina river–which flows through Foca, Visegrad, Goradze, Zepa, and Slap on Zepa in the Podrinje region–that brought the first signs of the massacre in Visegrad to the neighboring villages. On a late spring day in 1992, 72-year-old Mehmed Tabakovic and some fellow villagers from Slap on Zepa found a dead body floating in the Drina river. “We took the body from the river and buried it in our village cemetery. Nobody knew who he was or what was happening,” Tabakovic said. But that was just the first body and hundreds more would follow. “The bodies stank badly. In 15 days, we took about 250 bodies from the river. But I’m sure there were many more that were sucked down to the floodgates where they remain trapped at the bottom of the river to this day.”
It was a clandestine operation that Tabakovic and the villagers conducted in the dark and quiet of night to avoid the Serbian snipers surrounding them on all sides from the hill tops. Together, some 50 villagers organized a secret volunteer brigade to haul the bodies out of the river and bury them unnoticed. A couple of the men were from Visegrad and could identify some of the bodies. “For me, the most terrible experience was when one 20-year-old boy recognized his mother’s body floating in the river,” he said.