President Alija Izetbegovic, "Sarajevo Shall Survive"
“One victims remained alive for several minutes after both legs were cut off by a falling wall. His screams faded into deathly quiet, perspiration covering his face and he was dead by the time he was taken to hospital…”
46 killed, 303 wounded in 24 hours
24 August 1992
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — The capital’s defenders suffered heavy casualties in what appeared to be a last-ditch attempt to gain ground before peace talks begin. Bosnia’s president vowed that “Sarajevo shall survive.”
President Alija Izetbegovic told reporters Sunday that his forces had made headway on the west side of the city, where they were trying to reach Sarajevo’s airport, now under U.N. control. But government military officials gave mixed signals.
U.N. peacekeepers close the airport to aid flights after shells hit the runway.
Zaim Hakovic, deputy commander of Bosnian government forces, said his men were trying to break out west of the airport to link up with their comrades outside town.
Dr. Arif Smajkic, head of the Bosnian Ministry of Health, said Sunday that 46 people were killed and 303 wounded in the previous 24 hours of fighting in Bosnia, including 22 dead and 100 wounded in Sarajevo.Smajkic said the city’s main hospital had no water or electricity. Many wounded, mostly soldiers with serious wounds, were b eing brought in.
“It is very critical at the moment,” he said. “We need water for operations, and we don’t have any.”
The president said that even if the new offensive failed, his forces would fight on.
“Sarajevo shall survive,” he said. “We shall fight many, many months more.”
Bosnia’s ethnic Serbs, who want to remain part of Serb-dominated Yugoslavia, rebelled after the republic’s majority Croats and Bosniaks voted for independence on Feb. 29. Serbs now control two-thirds of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
At least 8,000 people have been killed, but recent estimates by U.S. Senate investigators put the total at up to 35,000.
About 1.3 million people have become refugees, many in Serbian “ethnic cleansing” campaigns to empty regions of unwanted ethnic groups.
Throughout Saturday night and Sunday, explosions and heavy machine-gun fire could be heard throughout Sarajevo. Shells landed near the main Kosevo hospital in the city center, around government offices and on the west side.
A mortar crashed into the second floor of a student hostel in the old city, killing at least two people and wounding several others.
One victims remained alive for several minutes after both legs were cut off by a falling wall. His screams faded into deathly quiet, perspiration covering his face and he was dead by the time he was taken to hospital.
One government soldier with gaping stomach and chest wounds arrived at the hospital in a U.N. armored personnel carrier manned by French soldiers who said Serb forces allowed them to cross their line to pick up the victim.
Izetbegovic planned to attend the peace conference set for Wednesday in London, organized by the European Community adn the United Nations to find a solution to conflicts in Bosnia and other former Yugoslav republics.