By Jonathan C. Randal
Pittsburg Post-Gazette, p.A4
22 April 1994.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — The siege of Gorazde continued yesterday as Bosnian Serb gunners shelled a hospital annex and a refugee center, reportedly killing dozens of people, in what was called the worst bombardment of the three-week Serb offensive against the Bosniak enclave.
U.N. relief officials in the town said 47 people were killed and 143 wounded in the 24 hours ending at 3 p.m., bringing total casualties to 436 dead and 1467 wounded. By early evening Alija Begovic, the Gorazde hospital’s director, reported 97 deaths during the day.
At the United Nations, the Security Council demanded early today that Bosnian Serb forces pull back from Gorazde.
The council unanimously condemned the Serb siege after a debate in which the Turkish ambassador, Inal Batu, called the concept of “safe areas” a joke and said the world body “is at its lowest ebb.”
In an amateur radio link with Sarajevo, a Gorazde doctor named Ferid Tutic said that about 2 p.m. two artillery rounds slammed into an annex of the damaged and barely functioning hospital where 35 patients had sought refuge 200 to 300 yards from the Bosniak-led government troops’ front lines.
“We managed to save only seven people despite help from neighbors,” he said, because intense Serb antiaircraft gunfire raking the area made it too dangerous to pursue rescue attempts.
Tutic said two medical technicians and three other residents who tried to dig out the victims were killed, cut down by artillery. A fellow doctor was killed Wednesday night while providing first aid to the wounded, he said.
For more than an hour “we could hear their screams from the ruins of the building,” Tutic said, “but I suppose they are all dead by now.” He said he gave up counting rounds landing on or near the hospital because “they were exploding every 10 seconds.”
Kris Janowski, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Sarajevo, said this evening that random shelling had smashed into the Red Cross refugee center on the east bank of the Drina River town and near the mosque on the west bank.
The Bosniak-led Bosnian government claimed that the Serbs had issued an ultimatum, demanding that the defenders of Gorazde accept a cease-fire that would leave the town divided or else see it leveled “to the ground.” Bosnian Serb spokesmen denied any ultimatum was issued.
The undiminished barrage from Serb tanks, artillery, mortars and wire-guided missiles came as a U.N. convoy of about 100 French, British and Ukrainian troops and 41 Norwegian medics failed to reach the east Bosnian town, one of six “safe areas” designated last May by the U.N. Security Council.
In Gorazde, U.N. military observers said heavy shelling — with rounds landing every minute for at least a half-hour — began shortly after 3 p.m., less than an hour before expiration of the Serb ultimatum that was delivered this morning.
In Sarajevo, Haris Silajdzic, prime minister of the predominantly Bosniak Bosnian government, rejected the Serb ultimatum as “outrageous.”