TV veteran says Bosnia war will be his last

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The Independent Online
First Edition

MARTIN BELL, 55, the BBC's award-winning correspondent and veteran of 11 major wars has said that he plans to make the Bosnia conflict the last war he covers. Bell 55, who is visiting his twin sister in Canada and visiting his friend, the Canadian General Lewis Mackenzie, the former deputy commander of UN troops in Bosnia, told Canadian television on Wednesday: 'I hope this is my last war.'

The BBC said it expected him to see the Bosnian conflict through, complete with his now legendary white suit. A spokesman said 'as far as we're concerned he's still doing Bosnia for us'.

Bell has been reporting wars for 30 years, and knows generals such as Sir Michael Rose and Rupert Smith, whom he met on his last Bosnia tour. As a former corporal in the Royal Anglian regiment, the ease with which he moves in the higher echelons causes him some amusement. And at times he has dressed down Army officers who have far less experience of war than he has.

His reputation, experience and professionalism have helped him overcome the constant obstacles and friction of working in a war zone: they were as lucky as his white suit. But as well as luck, Bell has always understood that it was a matter of logistics. Of vehicles that worked, of early deadlines, of days that could slip away unproductively unless you started early.