'One of worst days' in Sarajevo

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TWELVE people were killed and more than 67 wounded in Sarajevo yesterday by Serb mortar attacks, as the UN wrote to the Bosnian Serb commander to protest over his forces' indiscriminate shelling of civilians.

Shattered glass, twisted metal and pools of blood marked the latest civilian casualties. On Marshal Tito Street, a human brain lay on the pavement in a large pool of blood and a sea of glass fragments two hours after the explosion that killed two of the victims. The shell landed between the Catholic cathedral and the central market where 68 people were killed by a Serb shell in February 1994, prompting Nato to create the failed heavy weapons exclusion zone.

Brigadier Cees Nicolai, the UN chief of staff in Bosnia, wrote yesterday to General Ratko Mladic, the suspected war criminal who heads the Bosnian Serb military. "I write to you to protest most strongly about the recent and still continuing indiscriminate and deliberate shelling of the residential places of the city of Sarajevo," the letter said. "These very serious and inexcusable violations [of international law] are liable to trials in an international court."

Such warnings are unlikely to weigh heavily on General Mladic, who is under investigation by the War Crimes Tribunal, and whose forces seem intent on responding to recent Bosnian offensives around Sarajevo by shelling the city. Fresh impacts from yesterday's explosions were visible in at least a dozen places in the city centre and cars brought a constant stream of dead and wounded to Kosevo hospital.

"It was one of the worst days that I can remember," said a reporter who used his car to ferry the wounded.

n ZAGREB - Two people have starved to death in the besieged enclave of Bihac in northwest Bosnia. One man left a letter saying he was hungry but would not resort to begging, according to the UNHCR. The second death was that of a three-year-old boy who weighed only seven kilograms (15lb).