MOM TRIES TO SAVE BABY ALIDA HABIBOVIC (SIEGE OF SREBRENICA, 1993)
Desperate Bosniaks Jam Trucks
Serbian forces increase pressure on Srebrenica; UN troops barred entry
The Milwaukee Journal, p.A5
9 April 1993.
TUZLA, Bosnia-Herzegovina — When 14 flatbed trucks pulled into the savaged town of Srebrenica on Thursday, Azreta Habibovic stowed her emaciated baby daughter inside her denim jacket and clawed her way to the top of the panicked mob scrambling aboard.
Three artillery shells that had smashed into her latest place of refuge the night before had convinced the 17-year-old mother that it was time to choose between saving her toddler’s life or sacrificing two more Bosniaks to what she fears is an impending slaughter.
“I was determined to get onto that truck and I didn’t care if I was killed trying,” Habibovic said as she coaxed a tiny cup of milk into the mouth of Alida, her stunned and hollow-eyed not-quite 2-year-old. “No one wants to stay. There is nothing to eat and the Chetniks [Serbian terrorists] are killing us.”
In the latest chaotic release of starved and terrified hostages of the Balkan conflict, 1500 women and children braved an icy four-hour hurdle in the open trucks through burned Bosnian Muslim villages and rock-throwing enemies to reach the relative safety of this Bosniak stronghold 45 miles to the north.
Several women and at least one child were injured in the crush or when Serbians in the town of Bratunac stoned the convoy as it passed through. Thousands of other civilians were left behind, wailing and desperate.
Serbians have steadily advanced on Srebrenica, which is one of only three eastern enclaves still home to Slavic Muslims.
The nationalist forces are within a mile of the town center and have stepped up attacks this week despite a purported ceasefire, according to humanitarian relief workers.
In related developments:
UN Actions: The UN Security Council put the finishing touches Thursday on a resolution to halt smuggling to Serbian-ruled Yugoslavia, but Russia asked numerous questions that might delay adoption of the measure.
The resolution, which would strengthen an existing UN trade embargo on Yugoslavia imposed for its support of Serbian rebels in Bosnia-Herzegovina, seeks to cut off smuggling to Yugoslavia by water.
Several diplomats said the Russians were apparently trying with their questions to buy time for new diplomatic efforts by a Russian deputy foreign minister, Vitaly Churkin, who is in Yugoslavia meeting with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, as well as with the Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic.
No-Fly Zone OK’d: A German court ruled Thursday that its troops could take part in enforcing a UN no-fly zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina, clearing the way for that country’s first combat role abroad since World War II.
The NATO allies had said earlier that they would begin enforcing the UN no-fly zone over Bosnia on Monday, an operation that marks the group’s first combat role since its creation in 1949.