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Source: IHRLI

IHRLI Report on Camp Run by Fikret Abdic Forces

Abdic Camp at Poultry Farm near Croatian border: (The existence of this detention facility has been corroborated by a neutral source, namely Agence France Presse.) Apparently, civilians are being held at a poultry farm near the Croatian border by Muslim secessionist forces led by Fikret Abdic.

343/ According to the Agence France Presse, between 400 and 700 civilians have been arrested and detained for opposing the war effort. These prisoners include women, teenagers and elderly people, relief officials and others. 344/ While their exact ethnic make-up is unidentified, it has been established that a large number of them include troops loyal to the Bosnian president as well as Muslim inhabitants who have refused to join Abdic's forces. 455. Rumours have been circulating in the region of Velika Kladusa, where many Bihac inhabitants have fled, that the prisoners of Abdic are being mistreated and deprived of food. 345/ Relatives say that they are being forced to dig trenches on the front lines. At the end of June, a group of civilians were seen on the front lines near the hamlet of Hasi_i with picks and shovels. There were soldiers watching over them, but there was no way to confirm there status as prisoners. 346/ 456.

A member of the ICRC gained access to the camp in early June after nearly a week of pressuring authorities. Following his visit, he related that "[The prisoners] are men who refused to serve in the military, and political dissidents, but what is worse, their relatives have also been arrested, including women, adolescents and elderly people." 347/ 457. Apparently, many of the detainees were arrested and taken away from their homes when they would not actively support Abdic's seccessionist effort. One report claims that the arrests began on 10 June, the day that the BiH Army launched a strong military offensive against Bihac. These troops have been attempting to defend the Bihac enclave against attacks by the BiH Army since this time. 458. They are commanded by Fikret Abdic, a millionaire businessman who broke with the Muslim-led government in Sarajevo over his willingness to negotiate with BiH's Serbs. 348/ He declared the region of Bihac autonomous in September of last year, and fighting between his forces and the army began a month later. The one-month cease-fire agreed to by Muslims and Serbs on 10 June does not cover Bihac since Abdic did not sign the truce. Abdic's forces are reported to be highly outnumbered in the fighting -- 500 versus 15,000 army men. 349/ 459. The speaker of Bihac's self-proclaimed parliament, Bo_idar _icel, admitted that 150 people had been arrested, but dismissed them as "spies or agents spreading disinformation". 350/ 460.

In addition to these reports, there is also an earlier press release that these forces and troops loyal to Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic participated in a prisoner exchange around 25 April. 351/ This exchange followed the signing of an agreement between the two sides on 23 April. According to the ICRC, forces led by Abdic freed 280 prisoners and troops loyal to the BiH government freed 76. 352/ 461. The report does not positively identify the poultry farm as the place of detention for the prisoners held by Abdic, so it is possible that there is another camp. At the same time, it also failed to include information about where the 76 prisoners of BiH government forces had been held.