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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September, 2003, 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK
Bosnia mass grave is largest yet
Forensic experts remove topsoil to reveal human bones
Experts have still not reached the bottom of the grave
Forensic scientists say they have discovered the remains of almost 500 people in a mass grave in eastern Bosnia, confirming their belief that it is the largest site so far unearthed.

More than 350 complete bodies have been exhumed from the Crni Vrh (Black Peak) grave and experts believe about 100 more skeletons will be dug up.

Most of the victims are thought to have been Muslims from the nearby town of Zvornik killed when Bosnian Serbs overran the area during the 1992-95 war.

Others may be victims of another wartime atrocity, the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

The experts say the bodies had been moved to the grave from other, smaller ones after the war, in an effort to cover up the killings.

There are at least another 16 mass graves within two kilometres of the site.

'Sad corner'

The BBC's Nick Hawton, who has visited the grave, says that a huge amount of organisation must have gone into the killing and subsequent concealing of bodies.

Srebrenica mass grave
More than 16,000 people are still missing following the Bosnia conflict
The remains of 17,000 people have so far been found in mass graves in Bosnia. The fate of more than 16,000 is still unknown.

The experts have not yet reached the bottom of the grave, which measures 40 metres by five metres.

Among their discoveries were the remains of about 10 children aged between one and 12, buried in a corner of the grave with women believed to have been their mothers.

They included a child shot in the head and another with a bullet lodged in its spine.

The BBC's Allan Little
"Investigators have been taken aback by what they have found"

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