CNN Balkan Conflict News

Shells rip into Sarajevo marketplace, killing more than 35


Bosnian prime minister calls for suspension of peace talks

August 28, 1995 -- 2:30 p.m. EDT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNN) -- A violent shelling attack in the market in downtown Sarajevo has left more than 35 dead and at least 80 injured. Seven or eight shells hit about 11 a.m. (5 a.m. EDT) as the streets swarmed with people going about their lunchtime errands. (Warning: graphic video - 1.5M QT movie)


After the attack, the marketplace resembled a war zone with bodies shattered and bleeding, limbs blown off, blood pooling in the street. Panicked victims fled the carnage. Some bodies were blown to bits, with the wounded lying amid the dead. People with cars attempted to transport the injured to hospitals. Some of the wounded dragged themselves to medical help as best they could. (Shymanski describes scene - 264k AIFF sound)


There is no confirmation of where the shells came from, but the United Nations is acting on the assumption that, like before, the shells came from Serb positions. (Shymanski explains U.N.'s likely steps - 315k AIFF sound)

Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic blamed Serb forces for the attack and called for the suspension of peace talks being held in Paris on the partition of Bosnia. "If there is to be a peace process, it should not be at gunpoint," Silajdzic told CNN. He called for the suspension of talks until "the role of the international community in protecting safe areas is clear." The Serbs, he said, stage an attack every time peace negotiations begin in earnest. They are demanding that the Bosnian government make concessions "or we will kill your people," Silajdzic said.


The Bosnian prime minister charged that the international community had left his government without the ability to defend itself because of the arms embargo 9264k AIFF sound). Thus, he said, "it is the responsibility of the international community to protect us." NATO he said, has "the ability to punish those who carried out this attack on Sarajevo" and urged air strikes against the Serbs.

For their part, NATO sources said the organization is reviewing the situation. One source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it is possible that NATO planes on patrol have moved their flight patterns closer to Sarajevo. The reason for doing this, according to the official, would be to "increase readiness" in the event that the U.N. would request air strikes.

While the official said he was unaware of any request for air strikes, it would not be unusual for the NATO command to move over-flights closer to the city of Sarajevo in order to increase visibility and "presence" of the NATO aircraft.

The open air market in Sarajevo has been closed since a gruesome shelling on February 5, 1994, left 68 people dead and 200 wounded. That attack prompted a NATO ultimatum of airstrikes against Serb rebels.

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