Chaos in city after terror and carnage

BOSNIA CRISIS TUZLA DEVASTATED

"I have witnessed a number of deaths but I have never seen anything like that," said Beth Coe. "There were dismembered body parts all over the place." Ms Coe, a delegate from the International Committee of the Red Cross, was having dinner in the Old Town in Tuzla, a sprawling Bosnian city filled with refugees, when she heard the explosion that killed at least 71 people, many of them teenagers, and wounded more than 150.

"It was extremely chaotic; there were so many people running or crawling, the injured crying out in pain," she said by satellite telephone from Tuzla. "It was just totally overwhelming, the sheer numbers ... Obviously there was a high level of emotion, some people were fairly hysterical, understandably."

An air-burst rocket, fired by the Bosnian Serbs at the UN-declared "safe area" after Nato's air strike on Thursday, exploded at a cross-roads in the Old Town crowded with cafes and people. It is a popular spot for teenagers to hang out. It was a warm evening and there is little else by way of entertainment.

Ms Coe, a Canadian nurse, was told that 80 per cent of the victims were aged between 14 and the early twenties. The youngest was two years old, the oldest 40. She and a colleague rushed to the scene to ferry the wounded to hospital and the bodies to the mortuary. With the horror of the experience in her voice, she said 38 people were critically wounded in the attack.

Bosnian television showed gruesome pictures of the dead and wounded. Two men were seen struggling to carry the decapitated body of a young woman into an ambulance. Hospital workers were seen trying to save the wounded.

"The response was very impressive,'' Ms Coe said. ''There were dozens of cars, ambulances, people picking people up and getting them to hospital however they could.

"There was screaming. A lot of screaming,'' she added. ''Some were hysterical. It's mind-blowing, that amount of death."

Two aid workers from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees were sitting only 50m from the blast, which is probably the bloodiest single attack of the war. "They said there was an explosion, two seconds of silence, then screaming and panic," said Kris Janowski, a spokesman for UNHCR in Sarajevo. "A lot of the victims have not been identified. Among the dead there were 10 children under 10."

The air raid siren sounded just after 7pm, when the first shell hit near by, "but then everything went quiet", Ms Coe explained. "It's like Sarajevo, that thing goes on all the time, and people have to get on with their lives."

Yesterday Tuzla was quiet but tense, with few people on the streets. Schools and businesses were closed. "Only a few essential shops are open," Ms Coe said. "People are in shock. Nothing like this has ever happened in Tuzla. Everyone is hanging on the radio and television, which are giving updates and the names of the injured."

Perhaps the Bosnian government should have predicted the Serbs' response.

"It was just a beautiful evening, so warm, and the place was just so full. That's the noted spot," Ms Coe said.

The Bosnian Vice President, Ejup Ganic, announced that today would be a national day of mourning for those killed.

But Ms Coe said: "Tuzla is already in mourning. Everyone is very downcast, sad, lots of tears. The city is grieving."

Voices
voices
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
arts + ents
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth GamesJust 48 hours earlier cyclist was under the care of a doctor
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + entsFilmmaker posted a picture of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on Twitter
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
News
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Life and Style
Workers in Seattle are paid 100 times as much as workers in Bangladesh
fashionSeattle company lets customers create their own clothes, then click 'buy' and wait for delivery
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Analyst

£30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable software house is looking ...

Application Support Analyst / Junior SQL Server DBA

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...

Commercial Litigation

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION SO...

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried