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Two suspects detained over wartime killing of 78 civilians in Bosnia

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The two men are suspected of crimes against humanity over June 1992 killings in the village of Velagici.
The two men are suspected of crimes against humanity over June 1992 killings in the village of Velagici.   -   Copyright  HANDOUT - Tužilaštvo Bosne i Hercegovine
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Authorities in Bosnia have detained two people suspected of taking part in the killing of at least 78 civilians during the 1992-95 war.

The two men were apprehended in the area of Banja Luka, according to a statement from the prosecutor's office on Tuesday.

They are suspected of crimes against humanity over the June 1992 killings in the northwestern village of Velagici.

Police officers identified and located the men following an order of a prosecutor of the Special Department for War Crimes.

The suspects detained in Banja Luka - the main town in the Bosnian Serb-run part of the country - were born in 1964 and 1969.

The men are suspected of carrying out "a large-scale and systematic attack on the Bosniak civilian population" in the territory of Bosanska Krajina, according to the statement.

They have also been charged with crimes against humanity under Article 172 of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In 1992, Bosnian Serbs executed imprisoned Bosniak civilians, who are mainly Muslims, outside a primary school building in Velagići with automatic weapons.

The victims' bodies were later driven away in trucks and dumped in a mass grave that was exhumed in 1996.

Last month, Bosnia also arrested seven former military officers and troops suspected in the killing of 44 civilians during the 1992-95 war.

More than 100,000 people died during the conflict, which broke out when Bosnian Serbs rebelled over the country's independence from the former Yugoslavia.

The two suspects arrested in Banja Luka will be handed over to the case prosecutor for further investigation.