Ekrem Redzic from Vlasenica was one of the four couriers of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (RBiH)who represented the connection between Podrinje and Tuzla at the time of the aggression against our country. Thanks to them, many survived, and almost three decades later, Redzic exposed his soul in an interview.
Namely, Ekrem Redzic, Ahmo Juraldzic, Besim Topalovic, and Enis Celikovic aka Jaco were the only connection between Tuzla, Kladanj, Cerska, Vlasenica, but also Srebrenica because in the period from 1992 to 1993 they were courier guides, who on many occasions crossed a mountain road more than 50 kilometers long.
In this way, they transferred many helpless people from one place to another, however, their main mission was to provide the Vlasenica and Srebrenica regions with basic necessities, such as food, medical equipment, medicines, mail, and other helpful things they carried on their backs from Tuzla and surrounding cities.
Their travels were extremely risky due to the passage of the line of the so-called Army of the Republika Srpska (RS), but also the Army of the RBiH because they did not have a system of communication for announcements and the like. They testified that people were killed because of their names and surnames, but also robberies because the aggressors took money and gold from them after the liquidations.
Three decades of silence
For almost 30 years, the names of the couriers were far from the public eye, no one mentioned them, and they kept their life’s Golgotha, trauma, and wounds they got, in their chests. Juraldzic and Topalovic passed away in the meantime, Celikovic still doesn’t talk about everything, however, 57-year-old Redzic spoke publicly about everything they went through. The trigger for that was his son’s reaction during the conversation about what he went through.
“I told him about couriers who had passed dozens of times on the road where every new step led us to death, and every bullet was a danger. He asked me if I had any benefit from my work, and my answer was that three don’t have anything, while I got 42.50 BAM of disability benefits in BiH. He laughed cynically, and in his voice, I noticed that he didn’t believe me. Then I decided to speak publicly about all this, “ Redzic told at the very beginning of the interview.
The fall of Vlasenica happened on April 21st, 1992, and shortly after that, Redzic, together with three other neighbors, Juraldzija, Topalovic, and Celikovic, made their first departure on the road to death. In Zivinice, they received medical supplies, medicines, ammunition, and other necessities that they had to transfer to Cerska, after which they were marked as courier guides who will be the only connection between Podrinje and Tuzla.
“We were like the Tuzla-Cerska bus line, we moved through forests, mountains, crossed streams, walked through snow and water, and were constantly in danger. When we left Tuzla, we brought with us 20 or 30 fresh guys (volunteers), and from Cerska and Srebrenica we transferred the sick and exhausted to the free territory, “ explained Redzic, who was separated from his family at that time because they were in the free territory.
After the horrors of war, he went through, he spent two years without sleep. He found an escape from reality in the wrong things, however, he eventually left our country. 22 years ago, he settled in Switzerland, where he still lives today, but he returns to BiH several times a year. He is especially attached to his Vlasenica, which, as he said, is a desolate place now.
The book “What do birds mean to me”
Redzic‘s life story is summed up in a book called “What do birds mean to me” (”Sta su meni ptice”), which was based on the manuscript of our interlocutor into a writer’s work by Fajko Kadric, who lost his brother in Vlasenica and walked on the death path from that place to Kladanj, Klix.ba writes.