Bosnian war baby reunites with father after 16 years
Girl found living in children's SOS village in SerbiaSarajevo -- A baby girl abducted by Serb soldiers at the outbreak of Bosnia's war and who was thought to be dead is to be reunited with her father after more than 16 years thanks to DNA analysis, according to the Red Cross.
In May last year, after a telephone call from social services and the Red Cross, Muhamed Becirovic rushed back to Serbia from his new homeland Germany to meet his daughter Senida, who went missing in April 1992.
"I did not believe it could be true, I was shocked, but I immediately travelled to Serbia," Becirovic told AFP in a telephone interview from Germany.
DNA analysis had confirmed the girl living in a children's SOS village at Sremska Kamenica, near the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad, was indeed his youngest daughter.
Becirovic learned that as a six-month-old baby, Senida was taken by Serb soldiers from her home in the Bosnian village of Caparde, along with her four-year-old sister Sanda and their mother.
At the time of Senida's disappearance, Becirovic had been at work in the northern Bosnian town of Tuzla and, unable to return home, he remained there until being wounded and evacuated to Germany for medical treatment in 1995.
Following her abduction, Senida was left with an elderly Bosnian Serb woman who was unable to care for the child and soon gave her up for adoption to a family in neighbouring Serbia.
Senida lived in Belgrade, with a family only identified as the Jankovics, until a year ago, when she was placed in the village because "she misbehaved," Becirovic said.
Becirovic reported his family as missing with the International Committee of the Red Cross and has spent the past 16 years hoping that their bodies would be found in one of numerous mass graves scattered across Bosnia.
Senida was in Bosnia on Monday, where Red Cross officials were helping her procure documents under her real name.
"She said she needed more time to think, but that she would probably choose to live with her father in Germany," a Red Cross representative Safet Sahanovic told AFP.
Some 15,000 people are still missing from Bosnia's 1992-1995 war, which claimed at least 100,000 lives.