Before conflict erupted, Bosnian and Serbian communities in Nekopi happily lived side by side. 

In the early 1990s, the village had a total population of about 50 people; the community's main source of income came from livestock and agriculture. 

The area was a major frontline in the conflict during the Bosnian War. Intense fighting decimated the region.

The people of Nekopi fled the area for their safety. 

The war ended more than two decades ago. But its legacy continues to haunt Nekopi. Indiscriminate and deadly landmines litter the area.

For many years, the threat of death at the doorstep has been a huge barrier for the people of Nekopi who have not been able to return home.

Only a handful of people inhabit Nekopi today. 

Vladimir (left) and Mirsad (right)

Vladimir and Mirsad fought on different sides during the Bosnian War. After a period in Sarajevo, Vladimir eventually returned to Nekopi with his family in 2007. Misrad returned home in 2000. 

They remain good friends. 

"Sometimes we shout at each other, sometimes we sing together!" Vladimir says of their friendship. 

For many years, they lived in fear. To avoid triggering the landmines strewn across the across the area, Vladimir and Mirsad were forced to steer clear of parts of the village.

For Vladimir, it made shepherding a life-threatening job. If the sheep wandered into the dangerous areas, he could only wait and hope the sheep returned safely. It was far too dangerous to go in after them.

There have been lots of landmine accidents in Nekopi and the surrounding area since the conflict ended.

MAG spoke to a local government representative who described how the mines had been laid as close as one to two metres from the main access road to Nekopi village. 

MAG began working in 2018 to clear the village of landmines.

In September 2019, MAG teams found and destroyed the last of the landmines haunting Nekopi.

More than 540,000m2 of hazardous land was declared safe and 157 landmines and 17 unexploded bombs were found and destroyed. 

MAG results in Nekopi

Landmines destroyed


Unexploded bombs


Land declared safe


The land will now be released back to the local community. A local community that is free of fear - and free to thrive. Families waiting to return home are finally safe to do so. 

And now the clearance work is finished in Nekopi, the local government has been able to resurface the vital access road made safe by MAG.

The new road is hoped to be another means of encouraging families home - as well as attracting tourists to the area, which is replete with rolling hills and beautiful scenery.

For those who have already returned, like Vladimir and Mirsad, the safe land provides an opportunity for improved livelihoods. 

Vladimir relies solely on the land and his livestock and has no other source of regular income. Now that the area is clear, he and Mirsad have safe access to mushrooms, herbs, blackberries and other fruits that minefields had previously prevented them from reaching. 

Now they plan to collect and sell this extra produce to wholesalers to be sold on at the local market. 

With Nekopi finally cleared of its deadly legacy, Mirsad and Vladimir joke that the only borders they fight over these days are the borders between their farms.