22-Aug-2006 -- Preparing for the field work and cave explorations on Speleological camp Vjetrenica 2006 I noticed, that I have to pass near the confluence which has not been visited yet. The confluence is in BiH about 10 km SSE of small town Stolac, at about 650 m a.s.l.
The area around confluence is rocky karst plateau with thin soils covered with low vegetation and grass. Small groups of houses are scattered on the vast surface. The source of life of the people was pasturing sheep and cattle and some agriculture in small fields cleaned between the rocks. During the war 1992 – 1999 most settlements were burned down and most people left. Many people were killed.
From the road Stolac – Ljubinje I took a narrow rocky road to the settlement Mrkalji. Here I found an old woman and a man, probably the only settlers of the place. They informed me, that close to village there is no land mines, at least on the road, for further north they were not sure. I drove another kilometre to the village Čumeljaci and left car there. The settlement of maybe 5 houses was completely burned and there is nobody living there. The same happened with settlement Pirići and Risnik. The houses are already overgrown with bushes and trees. Abandoned cemetery I found shows that the people living here were Bosnians of Islamic religion.
I continued by foot further north, to the NE slope of the Risnik, 723 m high peak dominating above the levelled surface. The bushes of the hill and the surface were in past years burned down several times. That occurred during the fights and also later, a technique of locals, to destroy at least some mines or other dangerous remains of war. The top of the Risnik was fortified by bunkers and around were traces of shooting to targets. I noticed no warnings for the land mines and saw none. But the walking there was not pleasant.
The confluence is located on the NE slope of Risnik. That makes good view to N and E. I was afraid to go to the top of the hill to see and photo the panorama – I was not sure for the mines and the sun was just setting down. On the way back to the car was already dark and it was difficult to walk in rough rocky terrain.
In next years the bush will cover the area if there will be no humans to maintain the pastures.