Bosnia babies found dead in abandoned mental hospital: Fleeing staff leave handicapped to fend for themselves
Tuesday 20 July 1993
The horrific scenes were discovered 30 miles north-west of Sarajevo in the town of Fojnica, which only a few weeks ago was described as 'an island of peace' by General Philippe Morillon, then the UN commander in Bosnia.
When Muslim-led Bosnian government forces wrested Fojnica from Croats on Friday, up to 5,000 of the town's 6,500 people fled. UN relief workers said that doctors and nurses had joined the panic-stricken exodus, leaving hundreds of sick or crippled patients at two medical institutions to fend for themselves.
A Canadian patrol inspected the shell-battered home for retarded people briefly on Sunday and found 230 patients, 100 of them children including babies, left there without care. Yesterday a UN relief convoy bearing food and medicine reached the home and discovered the bodies of two children aged between one and two. A further five babies among the 230 patients were in critical condition. None of the group had access to lavatories.
'They appear to have died from simple lack of care. We have found no food here, a little medicine. But the patients had not been treated for three days,' Jerrie Hulme, a UN refugee official, said by radio from Fojnica. 'The sanitary conditions are appalling, the health conditions ghastly,' he said. 'The situation is absolutely 100 per cent desperate.'
Peter Kessler, UNHCR spokesman in Sarajevo, said: 'Mentally handicapped people, including children, of Serb, Muslim and Croat origin have been left alone in the middle of a war. Some were found locked in rooms.'
A team of UN and French doctors was planning to stay the night to clean up the patients' squalid quarters, cook for them and provide running water.
UN sources said at the weekend that 30 crippled hospital patients in wheelchairs had also been left behind in the exodus but there was no word yesterday about their fate.
Ethnic cleansing made easy, page 9
Robert Block, page 19
- 1 Dentist who illegally killed Cecil the lion blames local guides for the scandal
- 2 Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
- 3 Norwich paedophile ring: Woman at centre of gang who made children 'sexual play things' guilty of 23 offences
- 4 Black and ethnic minority people twice as likely to be hit by Tory cuts than white people, report finds
- 5 Walter Palmer: American dentist revealed as the killer of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe
Dentist who illegally killed Cecil the lion blames local guides for the scandal
Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
Norwich paedophile ring: Woman at centre of gang who made children 'sexual play things' guilty of 23 offences
Black and ethnic minority people twice as likely to be hit by Tory cuts than white people, report finds
Walter Palmer: American dentist revealed as the killer of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Facilities & Project Manager ...
£30000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum cares for one of the largest...
£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ope...