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'They called us 'bitches' and one of them pointed at me,' said Ziba. I was terrified they were going to kill the children while I was in the hotel. He said if I didn't do what they wanted, they would cut my throat. Their suffering was endured by thousands of other Muslim women in August and September of last year as Serbian forces 'ethnically cleansed' the Muslim villages of eastern and western Bosnia.

They thought I was going to be killed.' Ziba and 11 other young women - the youngest, Sanela, was only 16 - were driven to Kalinovik's only hotel. After the food they told us to go with them to the rooms. Senad Saric, a gynaecologist from Gacko who has performed seven abortions on the survivors, has compiled a complete list of the names and ages of all the raped women along with those of five girls who were taken away by the Serbs and apparently forced to work as prostitutes. Survivors, living now in shell-damaged buildings in Jablanica and in the ruined city of Mostar on the Neretva river, have also recorded the names of young men who were brutally murdered in their presence and of the fate of at least 71 other women who were machine- gunned to death in a neighbouring village.

Five of the women, including Ziba, were from the eastern Bosnian town of Gacko, the rest from Kalinovik itself. They say that the local Serbian police in Kalinovik knew of the rapes and murders but made no attempt to help them.

'They made us clean the rooms in the hotel, made us wash the floors then they gave us food at some tables,' Ziba recalls. At least one of the Kalinovik inmates kept a secret diary in which she recorded each day the humiliations heaped upon the Muslim women.

The women have also been able to name some of their Serbian tormentors, all of whom belonged to the 'White Eagles' of Vojislav Seselj, identified as a war criminal by Washington but whose Serbian Radical Party gained a dramatic success in the December elections in Serbia.

Around 37 per cent of the region's 10,000 population was Muslim, although Muslims formed the middle classes and constituted a majority inside the town itself.

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