UN soldiers escort 300 out of Sarajevo safely

Click to follow
SARAJEVO (Reuter) - The United Nations escorted more than 300 mothers and children safely out of Sarajevo yesterday, after the Bosnian capital's warring factions gave their blessing to an exodus of civilians for the first time.

Wrenching themselves away from their relatives in emotional farewells in a city car park, the women and children climbed into buses and drove away from four months of bitter fighting in the besieged city. Officials said privately that the evacuees were all Muslims and Croats.

Two UN armoured personnel carriers, one ahead and one behind, escorted them safely in the sweltering heat up to the last Serbian checkpoint in the suburb of Ilidza near the city's airport.

'There have been no incidents. We're very satisfied with the way things have proceeded up to this point,' a UN spokesman said.

The evacuees were to pass through Serb-held territory west of Sarajevo and spend the night in government territory north-west of the capital, officials said.

Another bus, also carrying women and children, was tentatively scheduled to leave next week for Serbia, said Dusko Tomic, the head of the Children's Embassy charity, which organised the trip.