"Things would never be the same again..."

Surviving the siege of Mostar

“I felt like I lost part of my youth, a part of who I am or was.”

Miona Boskovic lives in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina – and in 1993, when she was 16 years old, the siege of the city began, one of many battles during the brutal Bosnian War. 

The siege lasted three years. Shells and mortars rained down on the city from the surrounding hills, and on the streets that divided east from west, soldiers fought at close quarters over every street. 

Miona, now Mission Without Borders’ (MWB) programme manager in Bosnia-Herzegovina, said, “We stayed in the city, but we couldn’t leave the house, and my sister and I hid in the family cellar, fearing the sound of every weapon. 

“Each day it felt like we heard news that a friend or family member had been killed. It got too much, and my sister and I left the city on a refugee bus bound for France, leaving our father behind.  

“When the war ended, we came back to Mostar. Arriving on the bus, I did not recognise my city. Buildings were battered and full of bullet holes and I realised things would never be the same again.  

Things would never be the same again...Surviving the siege of Mostar

“When I saw my father again, he was skinny, his face was grey, and his once bright deep blue eyes had lost their shine. His big smile was gone and the worst thing was that he only spoke quietly to my mother and could not even look at my sister and I. We felt confused, rejected, and for a teenager everything was so weird and hard to understand.  

When I saw my father again, he was skinny, his face was grey, and his once bright deep blue eyes had lost their shine. His big smile was gone...“My mother told us that my father’s brother had been killed by a sniper outside his family home. My father was devastated. Many of his friends had also been killed and sent to concentration camps. He was filled with huge grief and a shame that is hard to understand if you have not been through such a time. 

“But we all had to live, move on and get on with life. I studied law at university, qualified and began working for MWB. For the past 15 years this has been my calling. My faith helped me through that time of despair, as God was with me and comforted me.  

“Today we are strong as a family, and my children have a wonderful grandfather who, despite his experiences, is able to show his grandchildren that life is beautiful. 

“I can only comprehend what happened by saying that at that time, Mostar was in the firm grip of evil. MWB’s work ever since with communities, families, the elderly and children is all aimed at healing and releasing that grip.” 


100,000 people are estimated to have been killed during the four year Bosnian war