Bosnian evacuees plead for intervention: Relatives of wounded say thousands more could die. Rhys Williams reports
Tuesday 24 August 1993
Zehra Kalamujic, whose eight-month-old son Aldar has a serious liver disorder, told a press conference: 'I thank the Red Cross, the United Nations and the British government for helping me to see my child saved and for making this evacuation possible. But there are thousands more children left with mothers who are crying now.'
Weeping as she cradled her other son, Kenan, four, Ms Kalamujic added: 'It is very hard for a mother to see her child die. I beg all of you, who have any means, to do everything you can to enable other mothers to get their children out.'
Alma Sarajlic, a doctor evacuated from Sarajevo last summer, said unless the city and other towns in Bosnia were relieved from siege before the winter, 'the country will become a mass cemetery'. Reading from a statement by the relatives, Dr Sarajlic said: 'We plead with the ordinary people of this country to put pressure on their government to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches the needy in our country even if it means a use of force.'
Suada Bogdanic, whose eight-year-old son Denis is stable after open-heart surgery, went further: 'The only hope is military intervention, because there is no other help for the people there. When we left, it was impossible to survive. After a year-and-a-half of war, the resources have been exhausted. There is nothing else left as negotiations lead us nowhere.'
Ms Bogdanic also condemned the international community's failure to help sooner: 'We have been suffering casualties for the past 16 months and nothing was done until now. It was only after they saw Irma that we were given a chance. The world should be ashamed.'
The mission to fly 20 Bosnian wounded and their families into Britain attracted criticism after it was disclosed that there were soldiers among the injured. But Hiba Causevic said that her husband Nesad had been paralysed when defending Sarajevo and that he and the other men were as worthy of evacuation as the children. 'Their sacrifices have meant that we still have a chance of survival in our own homes,' the group said.
Zaim Pasic, 34, Nevin Dilberovic, 22, and Devan Dedovic, 29, are expected to be discharged from Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, today and Dino Dugonijic, 27, is being released from the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford.
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