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Tuesday, April 13, 1999 Published at 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK


Children's choir leads Serb TV offensive

Targeted: TV pictures showed children wearing bulleyes and holding candles

Serb TV reports have accused Nato leaders of "insanity" and of seeking to "destroy the Serbian people" in the aftermath of the train bombed by the alliance on Monday.

Kosovo: Special Report
News broadcasts have shown close-ups of the train hit in the Nato bombing raid near Leskovac in southern Serbia - including charred bodies being pulled from the wreckage.

Serb TV reports also accused Nato of working with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) from within Albanian territory while a children's choir has been broadcast singing for peace.

In reports on the bombed train, news programmes said 10 people were killed in the attack on the Belgrade-Salonika line. The casualties included foreigners. The 16 wounded were admitted to Leskovac hospital.

"The story about this obviously terrorist Nato attack without precedent in recent history was not presented in Nato headquarters in Brussels and not mentioned by any official in countries of the Nato alliance," the report alleged.

'Bloodthirsty asault'

Yugoslav state news agency Tanjug said the bombing was proof that Nato was intent on "inflicting suffering on and destroying the Serbian people" .


[ image: Flying swastika: A Serb TV graphic of Nato planes in formation]
Flying swastika: A Serb TV graphic of Nato planes in formation
"The terrible scene witnessed by about 100 foreign and domestic reporters at the century-old railway bridge spanning the Zapadna Morava river reflects the insanity and true intentions of those who ordered and those who committed this atrocity," it said.

A "bloodthirsty" Nato pilot fired two missiles at the train, "deliberately and with precision aimed at the two middle carriages".

"The missiles immediately turned the passengers into ashes, sending mangled remains of the train and the bridge flying some 100 metres away," Tanjug said.

"A field beside the railway line was showered with parts of dismembered human bodies, the train and missiles.

"The victims of the bloodthirsty enemy will not be easy to count as they were turned to ashes or carried away by the river.

"But the monstrosity of a crime is not measured by the number of victims.

"A crime is always a crime."

Nato supports KLA

Serb TV reports also accused Nato of helping the KLA and Albanian army to attack Yugoslavia.

One report broadcast on Monday evening said: "The area between our watchtowers at Morina and Kosare, west of Djakovica, which our crew visited today, continues to be the scene of a joint aggression by the Albanian army, terrorists and the criminal alliance, whose helicopters are transporting fresh groups of terrorists and weapons to the border with Yugoslavia.

"For the duration of the aggression from Albania, the aviation of the criminal alliance has been overflying the region, surveying and filming the positions of our forces, guiding artillery fire from Albania and extending air support to the terrorists."

Song for peace

The news bulletins - some of them broadcast in English - were interspersed with pictures of babies in a maternity ward and a children's choir.

As the choir sang, subtitles in English said: 'The tears roll down my face,' 'The war is at our doorway,' and "Please pray now for peace in our country'.


[ image:
"The tears roll down my face": Serbian TV pictures
As the camera slowly panned across the group, it showed close-up shots of children holding candles and wearing bullseye targets.

Other television footage showed people sheltering from Nato air raids, a stylised Nato bomber formation in the shape of a Nazi swastika and a computer graphic of a cemetery containing dozens of crosses.

In a roundup on the Nato raids, TV reports showed a huge fire at the Pancevo oil refinery, near Belgrade, which had reportedly been put out of action by Nato air strikes.

Nato missiles also demolished a heating plant at Krusevac, central Serbia, according to reports.

Tanjug reported that an old iron bridge near Krusevac was also destroyed in the raid and local housing, water and sewage systems were damaged.

In Nato attacks on Kosovo, cluster bombs were said to have been dropped near one village.

News footage included shots of damaged houses. Two Greek surgeons reportedly told journalists that their Pristina hospital with 450 patients - most of them civilian victims of Nato - is without electricity, water or adequate medicines.

Serbian radio reported that a British Harrier jump jet was shot down late on Monday by Yugoslav air defences near the village of Osmaci, 20 km north-west of Tuzla in northern Bosnia.

The plane crashed as it was attempting to land at Tuzla airport, the radio quoted local police and military sources as saying.

BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.



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