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Thursday, 25 January, 2001, 08:04 GMT
Depleted uranium: Bosnia tests start
KFOR soldiers measure radiation levels in Kosovo
There are concerns about the possible effects of DU in Bosnia
By Alix Kroeger in Sarajevo

A team of experts from the United Nations Environmental Programme (Unep) arrives in Sarajevo on Thursday, to begin preliminary tests aimed at determining levels of depleted uranium (DU) left behind from Nato bombing.

Nato's DU strikes
112 strikes
96 targets attacked
84 targets in
Kosovo
10 targets in
Serbia
1 target in
Montenegro
There's growing concern about the possible effects of depleted uranium in Bosnia both on peacekeepers and on the local population.

Nato warplanes dropped ten-thousand rounds of depleted uranium ammunition in Bosnia in 1994 and 1995.

Soldiers from several troop contributing countries, including Italy, Portugal and France, have fallen ill with what's being called Balkan Syndrome.

The Nato-led Stabilisation Force, S-For, has said it has no plans to monitor the effects of DU on Bosnia's civilian population.

Unep is now making a visit to Bosnia, after testing soil samples in Kosovo.The full results of those tests will be released in March.

The World Health Organisation may also be asked to monitor the health of Bosnian civilians.

Illnesses

Nato dropped the greatest concentration of DU ammunition on the town of Hadzici, near Sarajevo, where the Bosnian Serb army had a weapons depot.

Alan Joy
Paratrooper Alan Joy served in Bosnia and died of leukaemia
Most of the Serbs from Hadzici are now living in the town of Bratunac, in eastern Bosnia.

Doctors there have reported a greatly increased incidence of cancer-type illnesses.

Out of a 105 people buried last year in Bratunac cemetery, 51 are reported originally to have come from Hadzici.

The S-For peacekeeping force, which has done its own soil tests in Hadzici, says DU presents a negligible hazard.

Most peacekeepers serve six months in Bosnia. If there is a risk from DU, the population in Hadzici and elsewhere have been exposed for up to five years.

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See also:

15 Jan 01 | Health
Serb doctor's uranium warning
19 Jan 01 | Europe
New inquiry into uranium scare
03 Jan 01 | Europe
Alarm over Nato uranium deaths
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