UN official describes nightmare bombardment of school: A UN official has sent a harrowing account of the schoolyard slaughter inflicted by Serb artillery. Marcus Tanner reports

Click to follow
The Independent Online
A LEAKED report by a United Nations refugee worker in Srebrenica has provided a harrowing eyewitess description of Monday's massacre of women and children by Bosnian Serb artillery.

Louis Gentile described seeing '14 bodies in a schoolyard where teenagers were shelled in the middle of a football game.'

'Body parts and human flesh clung to the schoolyard fence and the ground was literally soaked with blood. I saw two ox carts covered with bodies and what remained of bodies being wheeled into the hospital.'

Mr Gentile, a Canadian, concluded his three-page report, submitted to UN refugee chiefs, thus: 'I will never be able to convey the sheer horror of the atrocity I witnessed on April 12. . . . I do not look forward to closing my eyes at night for fear I will relive the images of a nightmare that was not a dream.'

Mr Gentile reported earlier that the population in Srebrenica - which he estimated at 28,000 - 'live in terror of continued shelling'. An average of five civilians die a day from infections in Srebrenica's hopelessly overcrowded hospital. Limbs have to be amputated because there is no equipment to carry out more advanced surgery. 'Many people die because there are not enough doctors to treat them, despite the Herculean efforts of the surgical team.'

The UN team in Srebrenica - seven peace-keepers, four military observers, one refugee official and four workers from the French charity Medecins sans Frontieres - were powerless to protect the population from further bombardment, he said.

There is no exact tally of the people killed as a result of Monday's bombardment of the crowded town centre. The UN has confirmed 56 dead, mostly women and children. But an unknown number of people have died from their wounds, both in Srebrenica and in Tuzla, to where UN trucks transported some of the worst injured on Tuesday.

As has so often been the case, the Serbs have emerged unscathed from the killings. The UN in Bosnia, far from being roused from the policy of even-handedly assigning guilt for the Bosnian civil war, appears to have been frightened by the ferocity of the Serbs' attack into acquiescing to their plans to conquer the town.

Only a month ago, General Philippe Morillon, the UN commander in Bosnia, was boldly talking of placing a battalion of Canadian peace-keepers in Srebrenica and opening up an air corridor to Tuzla to evacuate the wounded. Since Monday's massacre, the issue of peace-keepers in Srebrenica has slid off the agenda, and General Morillon has gone to ground.