Bosnia detains two Serb ex-soldiers over wartime killing of 78 Bosniaks

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SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bosnian police on Tuesday detained two Serb ex-soldiers accused of taking part in the murder of at least 78 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) civilians early in the Bosnian war of the 1990s, the state prosecution said in a statement.

A quarter of a century after the U.S.-sponsored Dayton peace accords ended the war among Bosnian Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks in which about 100,000 people were killed, many war criminals are still at large in the ethnically divided country.

Unčanin Boško, 51, and Despot Dragan, 56, are accused of violating the provisions of the Geneva conventions on the protection of civilians during wartime and of crimes against humanity, the prosecutor's office said.

They were detained in the northwestern city of Banja Luka.

The two former Bosnian Serb army soldiers are suspected of driving the Bosniak civilians out of a school in the western village of Velagici in which they were detained, lining them up and, firing from automatic rifles with other soldiers, killing at least 78, the statement said.

The victims' bodies were transported by trucks and buried in a mass grave from which they were exhumed in 1996.

The 1992-1995 Bosnian war was marked by the persecution and killing of Croats and Bosniaks from territories the Bosnian Serbs had mapped out for their exclusively Serb state.

The Croat and Bosniak-dominated armies also committed crimes in the war in which all three parties fought each other at different times.

(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Nick Macfie)