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Western Bosnia (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1993-1995)

Zapadna Bosna

Last modified: 2012-05-17 by ivan sache
Keywords: western bosnia | zapadna bosna | national defence of western bosnia | narodna obrana zapadne bosne | fleurs-de-lis: 6 (yellow) | bee (blue) |
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Presentation of Western Bosnia

Western Bosnia, a region located around the town of Bihać, was a Muslim enclave surrounded on three sides by the Republic of Serbian Krajina and in the east by territory held by the Bosnian Serbs. Led by the politician Fikret Abdić, the region was spared from major devastation at the beggining of the war in Bosnia.
Later there was an argument between Abdić and the Sarajevo government, and he declared in September 1993 the "Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia". The fighting started then between the 5th Corps of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Bihać, loyal to the government, and Abdić's forces stationed in the town of Velika Kladuša. Abdić's forces allied with Serbs and withdrew to Serb-occupied territory in Croatia. On 26 July 1995, one week before the Croato-Bosnian offensive that suppressed the Republic of Serbian Krajina and liberated the Bihać enclave, Abdić proclaimed the "Republic of Western Bosnia", totally independent from Sarajevo.

Željko Heimer & Jos Poels, 27 September 1995


Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia

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Flag and emblem of the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia - Images by Željko Heimer, 8 January 2005, after a photo kindly provided by Jelena Borošak-Marjanović, Croatian History Museum

In early 2004, an antique dealer sold a flag from Bihać. The flag is white, intended for vertical hoisting, made of a single piece of artifical material (polyester) measuring ca. 150 x 300 cm. In the middle of the flag is an emblem silk-screen printed in two colors, about 100 cm in diameter. The emblem, presumably the coat of arms of the Autonomous Region, consists of the coat of arms of Bosnia and Herzegovina of the time (with fleurs-de-lis and bend) in front of a mesh of circular lines (presumably inspired by the UN emblem) and within a wreath of leaves with a blue ribbon in base bearing the white inscription "AP ZAPADNA BOSNA". Above the shield is the blue inscription "REPUBLIKA BOSNA I HERCEGOVINA".

Željko Heimer, 8 January 2005


National Defence of Western Bosnia

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Flag of the National Defence of Western Bosnia - Image by Željko Heimer, 29 April 2001

National Defence of Western Bosnia (Narodna obrana Zapadne Bosne) was the military formation organized in Western Bosnia in (or not much before) 1995 as the defence force of the Autonomous Region under the leadership of Fikret Abdić.
The flag was seen on TV on 28 April 2001, hoisted horizontally; however, the design was obviously meant to be used vertically. The flag was most certainly abandoned in summer 1995 when Western Bosnia dissolved as a separate entity.

Željko Heimer, 29 April 2001


Dubious flag reports

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Alleged flags of the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia (left) and of the Republic of Western Bosnia (right) - Images by Željko Heimer, 29 April 2001

Jaume Ollé reports these flags as used by the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia (September 1993 - 26 July 1995) and by the Republic of Western Bosnia (26 July 1995 - 5 August 1995), respectively. The flags are based on the contemporary flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a honey bee as a symbol of prosperity.
These flags could not be confirmed by any local source.

Željko Heimer, 29 April 2001