Twenty Years Ago Today: Massacre in the Marketplace

Twenty years ago today, high explosive shells were fired from the hills around Sarajevo onto a crowded marketplace within the city. 68 people were killed. 200 were injured. It was one of the bloodiest days of the whole Bosnian War, which lasted from 1992 to 1995. This video is almost unbearable to watch: raw, blown-out, glitchy footage of the aftermath, as bodies are pulled away. Some of them are put into the boots of cars - whether to be taken to hospital or just for burial, it's impossible to say. Do not press play if you cannot stand the sight of blood or dismemberment.

Sarajevo was under siege by Bosnian Serb forces, seeking to impose a Greater Serbia over the former Yugoslavia. Sarajevo was supposedly under the protection of UN forces - who had been instructed not to intervene in the fighting. They did, however, determine that the shells had come from Serbian positions. NATO decided to stop pissing about and make some threats of air strikes (though not any actual ones), and this did a little to persuade the Serbs to pull back. For a while.

This is known as the first Markale (Market) Massacre, which immediately tells you that even more awfulness lies in the future, just it did for Sudan with yesterday's massacre. On the 28th of August, 2005, it happened all over again, with 48 deaths and 75 wounded. This time, NATO got the go-ahead to launch air strikes (which, incidentally, was the first time that the Luftwaffe flew combat missions since world war 2). Peace followed not long after, though this was not the last of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.