Alexandru Cerbu about war of 1992: Bodies were lying on the streets in Tighina as in Bucha

Although Tighina was a city with 40% native population, there was only one school teaching in Romanian there. The marginalization of the indigenous population increased the internal tensions ahead of the war of 1992, former chief doctor of the Tighina Emergency Medical Station during the combat Alexandru Cerbu stated in a public debate hosted by IPN News Agency. According to him, the most intense fighting was in June 1992 and the volunteers and the police were the main force that was fighting for independence and territorial integrity.

Alexandru Cerbu, a doctor who served in Tighina during the war of 1992, said the situation in society was tense long before the outbreak of the war. The native population of Tighina was dissatisfied with the attitude of the local authorities as there was only one Romanian teaching school in the city.

“The pressure in the town of Tighina was increasing. They were all asking the same question: why were they marginalized? It was a city of over 100,000 inhabitants, with 40% native population, and there was only one school teaching in the Romanian language there – a boarding school attended by students from all over the republic. Later, under pressure from society, another school teaching in Romanian was opened. There were very few kindergartens teaching in Romanian. There were two-three Romanian language groups in the whole city. Due to the resistance of the local power, radicalization began. And the avalanche started. It was like a powder keg that needed only a match close to it. These were the internal circumstances. Sporadic conflicts had been witnessed since the summer of 1991. Two police majors were killed,” said doctor Alexandru Cerbu.

He noted that the most intense fighting took place in June 1992, when the battle for Tighina, the bloodiest part of the war, occurred.

“On April 1, 1992, the internal forces of the Republic of Moldova attempted to enter the city of Tighina. Only one armored vehicle from a military unit came, travelling with the tricolor through the city at 6 a.m. The fighting lasted for three weeks. The city was practically blocked, but the fighting was not as intense as in June 1992. International forces became involved. Romania was part of the commission and the situation practically calmed down. Then, on June 19, the fighting started again. On June 19, at 5 p.m., the police station was attacked and shooting began later on the main street. This shocked me. There was gunfire all over the city as volunteers from Varnița were coming. The first victims appeared at around 5:30 p.m. The most intense battles were given on June 22, when the Republic of Moldova also used the air force,” related Alexandru Cerbu.

He also said that the Republic of Moldova was completely unprepared for such a war, the country being defended only by policemen and volunteers. In the summer of 1992, bodies were lying on the streets in Tighina as in Bucha.

“The police and the newly formed army, which started to be created in April, were fighting on behalf of the Republic of Moldova, but the volunteers were however the main force. The status of these volunteers hasn’t been yet decided. ‘War volunteer’ is still an undefined status,” said Alexandru Cerbu, noting that the doctors provided medical assistance to the civilian population, volunteers and Cossacks.

The public debate entitled “32 years of an unfinished war” was the 31st installment of IPN’s project “Impact of the Past on Confidence and Peace Building Processes” which is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.

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