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No two people have more exemplified the tragedy of the civil war in Bosnia (1992 - 1995), than 25-year-old lovers Bosko Brkic and Admira Ismic. The only impediment to their love was living in a country whose people were divided solely on the basis of ethnic heritage. Bosko was Serb, and Admira a Muslim.
The couple, who had been dating for seven years, were both chemistry students at the University of Sarajevo. Bosko remained in the city to be with Admira despite his family’s flight from the bloodshed. Finally, in the spring of 1993, Admira and Bosko decided to flee Sarajevo and somehow escape to Belgrade, Serbia.
They knew their escape would be a dangerous one. To get to the Serb side they had to cross the Vrbanja bridge, the front line between Bosnian Serb and Muslim Forces. While most who wished to flee the city dared not risk the sniper fire, some had successfully crossed over. On the day of their planned escape, carrying two bags, Bosko and Admira approached the government soldiers on the Bosnian side of “no mans land”. They asked the soldiers to let them try an escape, and the police snipers assented.
The young lovers began running as fast as they could across the bridge. They had almost reached the Serb side when snipers opened fire. The machine gun fire came so rapidly that the couple had no chance to seek cover. Bosko was killed instantly, his body laying twisted on the ground. Mortally wounded, Admira crawled the few feet to her lover and wrapped her arm around him before she died.
An ironic twist to the story of two people’s love that transcended a country’s war, both the Serbs and Muslims staked claims to the bodies. As the two sides argued about who would have them, Bosko’s and Admira’s bodies lay intertwined on the bridge. The couple’s bodies laid side by side on the bridge for eight days, until finally the Serbian side went in under cover of night to drag the corpses away.
Serb troops buried the pair in Lukavica, the site of a large Serb army barracks. But Admira’s father Zijah felt that with the war over, the right resting place for the star-crossed pair was in the city where they met and fell in love. Thus it was that the bodies of Admira and Bosko were exhumed from an untended grave in Yugoslavia and shipped back to the city whose wartime strife they tried to escape and buried in Sarajevo in 1996.