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18 November: Vukovar & Škabrnja Remembrance Marked

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Croatia remembers victims from Vukovar and Škabrnja on 18 November…

Every year on the 18th of November the anniversary of the fall of Vukovar is marked in Croatia. During the 87-day siege of Vukovar by the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) between August and November 1991, 1,624 people were killed, including 12 children, 1,219 were wounded, and more than 350 Croatian soldiers unaccounted for. More than 22,000 Croats and other non-Serbs were also expelled from the city.

Vukovar was defended by around 1,800 lightly armed soldiers of the Croatian National Guard and civilian volunteers, against 36,000 JNA soldiers. On 18 November, the last defenders in Vukovar’s town centre surrendered.
Škabrnja, a municipality located halfway between Zadar and Benkovac in northern Dalmatia, also remembers its residents killed under attack during the Homeland war on 18 November 1991.

43 residents and 15 soldiers lost their lives on this day 23 years ago on what was called the Škabrnja massacre. Serb paramilitaries, supported by the JNA, captured the village of Škabrnja and killed 62 civilians by March 1992. Several people also died when stepping on landmines. In total, 86 people were killed, mostly the women, or the elderly. Škabrnja and Nadin were ethnically cleansed of its non-Serb population and annexed to the Republic of Serbian Krajina, remaining there until the Croatian forces reintegrated them back in 1995.

Škabrnja monument

Škabrnja monument

On Wednesday the victims were once again remembered by the victims’ families, police and army and war veterans’ and victims’ associations representatives, as well as government officials. A mass was held for the victims, before a procession headed off to the local cemetery to pay their respects there.

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