'People were just ripped apart'

Sarajevo bombing: Serbs blamed for massacre 8 Diplomatic efforts continue despite international revulsion
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The Independent Online


Sarajevo - By the end of yesterday, 37 people had died and at least 85 lay wounded in hospitals, many of them in a grave condition. One bomb landed at the entrance to a busy covered market on a main street and another near the National Theatre a few blocks away. Only 10 of the casualties were from the second bomb, doctors said. Later in the day another bomb hit Sarajevo's Kosevo hospital, wounding two patients, according to a spokesman for the Bosnian Ministry of Health.

"Killers, bastards, they all deserve to be slaughtered," screamed a woman covered in blood outside the market a few minutes after the blast.

The Serbs accused the government of targeting its own people but UN officials said most of the firing positions in the area where the most deadly mortar bomb came from were Serbian.

The attack occurred less than 100 yards from the open market where a mortar bomb killed 68 people and wounded 200 in February 1994. Bodies were draped where they fell over steel railings separating pedestrians from vehicles on Titova Street. Passers-by helped the wounded into cars and drove them to hospital with horns blaring and lights flashing.

"Mummy, I've lost my hand, I've lost my hand," said a girl cradled in her mother's arms in the back of a reporter's car pressed into service as an ambulance. The girl clutched a blood-soaked blanket as her mother, missing an eye from the blast, moaned "Where's my husband? I've lost my husband."

The surge of casualties swamped Kosevo Hospital, where doctors and nurses treated the wounded in the driveway.

A single smear of blood ran the length of the Trznica market from front to rear where a wounded person had been dragged from the bomb's point of impact to safety.

Yolks from eggs shattered by the blast oozed across market counter-tops.

Outside, a hand lay on the pavement among blood-spattered packets of cigarettes vendors had been hawking. Shoes, bags of fruit, ripped clothing and bits of flesh were scattered everywhere.

A motorcycle lay in the centre of the street where its rider had been struck down and blood flowed in rivulets along the asphalt channels of the steel trolley rails.

Friends and relatives wailed in grief and some fainted when the list of the dead was posted outside the Kosevo morgue and hospital in the early afternoon.

As night fell a single body remained unidentified and morgue attendants escorted a few reluctant survivors into the building to try to put a name to the victim.

"The moment the shell landed was chaos and you couldn't recognise anybody - even a brother couldn't recognise his brother because people were ripped apart," said Rasim, a policeman who normally stands on duty outside the Trznica market.