Yesterday evening, citizens of Mostar remembered Vukovar and its victims. On the hill Hum above Mostar, next to the big cross, 27 torches were lit up for 27 years after the killings in Vukovar. The torches were lit at 19:45.
Prior to this event, numerous citizens of Mostar lit a candle and prayed for the loss which was a tragic introduction to the bloody war.
Vukovar was heavily damaged during the Croatian War of Independence. Approximately 2,000 self-organised defenders (the army of Croatia was still in an embryonic stage at that time) defended the city for 87 days against approximately 36,000 troops of the Serb-dominated JNA supplemented with 110 vehicles and tanks and dozens of planes. The city suffered heavy damage during the siege and was eventually overrun. It is estimated that 2,000 defenders of Vukovar and civilians were killed, 800 went missing and 22,000 civilians were forced into exile.
The damage to Vukovar during the siege has been called the worst in Europe since World War II, drawing comparisons with Stalingrad. The city’s water tower, riddled with bullet holes, was retained by city planners to serve as a testimony to the events of the early 1990s.
On 18 November 2006, approximately 25,000 people from all over the country gathered in Vukovar for the 15th anniversary of the fall of the city to commemorate those who were killed during the siege. A museum dedicated to the siege was opened in the basement of a now rebuilt hospital that had been damaged during the battle. On 27 September 2007 the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia convicted two former JNA officers, Mile Mrkšić and Veselin Šljivančanin for their involvement in the Vukovar massacre.
As a result of the conflict, a deep ethnic divide exists between the Croat and Serb populations.