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Enes Suljkanovic
Enes Suljkanovic

Since 2004 Enes Suljkanovic, a Bosniak, is the President of the Municipal Assembly of Doboj. He works closely with the Serb mayor of Doboj, Obren Petrovic, and considers the return of Bosniaks to majority Serb Doboj a huge success.

"In fact, we think that Doboj is the number one municipality in Bosnia with regard to the issue of returning refugees. One reason for this is that most people spent the war and the post-war period very close to their homes:  in Doboj South, Doboj East, in Tesanj where I was, and in other nearby places. It has therefore been easy for them to return. Some still work in the Federation and can easily commute, but we are working on resolving this. We are trying to create jobs here."

Enes was born in Pridjel, a village next to Sevarlije, close to Doboj. He worked as an engineer in a large lime factory in Sevarlije until May 1992. He left after the villagers were asked to hand over their weapons. Remembering 1992, he says:

"One could already feel the danger, and I had a wife and a little girl who was only four."

He left Doboj a month before his village was burned to the ground.

After the war, Enes ran in the municipal elections of 1997 and won a seat in the Doboj assembly as a member of the Social-Democratic Party (SDP). Having been driven from his home himself, he was very active in lobbying international organisations to support the return of displaced persons.

In 2000, he was able to return to his village. He rebuilt his house with support from the Swedish development agency SIDA. Today, his 19-year old daughter is studying law in Doboj and his 11-year old son attends primary school in Sevarlije.

Since the war, more than 20,000 Bosniaks and Croats have returned to majority-Serb Doboj and surrounding villages like Sevarlije .

Enes Suljkanovic chairs a "Commission for the safety of citizens" and a "Commission for the safety of returnees to the municipality of Doboj", which bring together representatives of all the public bodies involved in ensuring safety. He says that "since 2000 there has not been a single ethnically based incident."

June 2008

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