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Adnan Becomes Another Silent Statistic in Death List

July 19, 1995

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ After three years safe in Germany, young Adnan Hadzic returned to the Bosnian capital just two months ago.

On Wednesday, the 13-year-old soccer enthusiast became another victim of a random Serb mortar attack that sprayed deadly shrapnel into the family bathroom where Adnan was standing.

``I was ready to be killed myself. I didn’t expect it to happen to my son,″ said Adnan’s father Amir, a Bosnian army soldier, too numb with grief to cry.

Children die daily in the Bosnian capital but there have been no recent large-scale massacres to bring down the wrath of the international community on the Serbs. Just sporadic shelling, which spreads even more fear because no one knows when or where the next attack will be.

Many deaths are not recorded by the United Nations, which concentrates on the size of mortars and the number of firing incidents rather than the victims.

``Sarajevo is quiet,″ said Lt. Col. Gerard Dubois, a U.N. military spokesman, just a few hours after Adnan was killed. Four people were killed Wednesday, including two children, and 21 were wounded, said Bosnian radio. Six were reported killed Tuesday.

Adnan was getting water outside when the first mortar shell hit the residential street in central Sarajevo.

``I called out to him, and he shouted back that he would go into the basement,″ his sister Arna recalled. He stopped by at the bathroom on the way.

Then the second shell struck, exploding in front of the Hadzic family’s small house. A piece of shrapnel hit Adnan in the back of the head.

``I called him again. He didn’t reply. I rushed to the bathroom. He still didn’t reply. I tried to pick him up. There was no sign of life ... just blood everywhere,″ said 20-year-old Arna, pulling on a thin cigarette and still in shock.

Glass littered the ground in front of the family home, crowded with mourners.

Adnan’s mother was at work at a nearby clothes factory when the attack happened. His father was out on the daily chore of looking for basic supplies.

A neighbor stopped the passing vehicle of Associated Press Television _ journalists’ cars are frequently used to ferry wounded to hospital. But it was too late for doctors to save the boy.

Adnan and Arna left Sarajevo in April 1992 when the war first started. They stayed for three years with an uncle in Germany. Adnan soon became a star in a local children’s soccer team and his room was covered with trophies and flags of the sport he loved.

``But then I finished grammar school (high school) and couldn’t continue with my studies in Germany so we came back to Sarajevo to see if I could study here,″ said Arna. They returned home in May, not expecting the upsurge of Serb shelling that has once again imperiled the capital.

Adnan went to school just twice before it was closed because government authorities feared large groups of children were easy targets for enemy attack.

Despite the danger, Adnan continued to play soccer with other children on a patch of weeds just opposite his home.

``He didn’t seem worried about the shelling. He was a fun-loving kid,″ said his father.

``What happened had to happen. And now it’s too late.″