Monitor reporter eluded soldiers and discovered evidence of Serb atrocities
An Aug. 18 Monitor article revealed the first on-the-ground details of a massacre of perhaps thousands of Bosnian Muslims in July after Bosnian Serb forces took the UN ''safe havens'' of Srebrenica and Zepa. The reporter's account confirmed US charges of a massacre based on spy satellite photos. In the following report, the correspondent tells how he got the story.
NEARING the Serb-held village of Nova Kasaba in Bosnia, I stared at a blurry, faxed copy of a US spy satellite photo. Were there really mass graves in the fields near this road, as US officials alleged from the photo?
Another photo, taken earlier, reportedly showed a soccer field half mile away where Muslim prisoners had been held, just before the alleged graves showed up in the later photos.
I had reached this spot somewhat by happenstance. I was allowed to enter Bosnian Serb territory, but only to travel to Pale and Banja Luka to cover Serbian refugees who had fled Croatia.
Because Serb officials somehow failed to provide me with a military escort and gave me wrong directions, I ended up on the road to the towns of Nova Kasaba and Bratunac. Suddenly, I realized I was near the area shown in the photos.
The soccer field, now filled with grazing cows and horses, rolled by on my right. Bosnian Serb soldiers at a military command post eyed my car warily. I turned back and parked my car on a dirt road where it could not be seen. I left my Serb driver and interpreter in the car.
But something seemed wrong. The Jadran River snaked through the valley of fields and bombed-out houses where the alleged mass graves should be.
But the photo showed no river. Convinced I was in the wrong place, I walked toward the soccer field. As cars passed by, I spotted a 10-foot-by-20-foot hole just off the road. It was empty, but a piece of paper filled with scribbled Muslim names lay in the grass nearby.
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