War game;The big picture

3rd April 1998 at 01:00
(Photograph) - This war-torn complex in Sarajevo was the Olympic village in winter 1984 when ice skaters Torvill and Dean won the gold medal by playing out a tragic love song to the haunting tune of Ravel's Bolero.

Now it is haunted by tragedy on a far greater scale. After the games this building was turned into flats. But from this week in 1992 it was on the front line as Sarajevo was subjected to a three-year siege by Bosnian Serbs trying to "cleanse" the city of its Muslim inhabitants - among the city's dead were 1,600 children, and 16,000 more were wounded.

The joie de vivre of this boy, despite the pockmarked ruins that lie behind him, was captured last year by Mike Moore, a "Mirror" photographer chasing a story about post-traumatic stress in children in Sarajevo. "I was driving around the Dobrinja district of the city and I saw four kids using this car as a goal," he said. "There were people still living in the building. Just look behind the ball."

The photo won the Picture Editors' Guild 1998 feature photographer award and helped Moore win the UK Press Gazette 1998 Photographer of the Year award.

But the tragedy in Bosnia is still being played out. "There's still live munitions lying around," says Moore. "People booby-trapped things that attract kids, like shiny tins, the sort of thing a kid would instinctively want to kick down the road. They put a small charge in it just big enough to blow off a hand."

There are more than 50 cases a month coming into hospitals and, though the authorities are running clean-up campaigns, they think it will take up to 50 years to make the streets completely safe again.

Brendan O'Malley

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