British Soldiers Avert Carnage in a Hospital

Article excerpt

Byline: RICHARD PENDLEBURY

TWO British soldiers prevented a bloodbath when a gun battle spilled into a Kosovan hospital yesterday.

Major Thomas Tervit and Private John Ward disarmed two Serb gunmen threatening to kill everyone in Pristina's Central Hospital.

Mailman Murray Sanders and myself were visiting the facility at the time and watched the drama unfold.

One person was already dead and four wounded when the two soldiers, summoned from a different part of the building by one of the injured, burst into the accident and emergency room.

There a Serb armed with an automatic pistol and hand grenades was screaming 'I'll kill them all', and a second Serb trained a gun on them.

The trouble had spilled from the streets of the provincial capital when a group of returning ethnic Albanian refugees suspected the Serbs of looting their home.

A gunfight broke out in which both sides suffered casualties. When the adversaries both arrived at hospital with their wounded the battle resumed there.

Major Tervit, from Glasgow, and Private Ward, from Rhynie, near Aberdeen, are deployed with the Royal Army Medical Corps, on hospital security duties in the British sector of Pristina.

Major Tervit said: 'The first guy was invited to put his gun down or be shot. He did so and I threw him to the floor.

'Private Ward dealt with the other guy and put him on the deck. He had to kick him somewhere very painful.' For a moment the soldiers feared one of the men had already pulled the pin on a grenade in his pocket but this proved groundless. The men were taken into custody by the Royal Military Police.

Yugoslavia officially lifted its state of war last night and faced immediate protests from up to 2,000 of its soldiers who have not been paid after serving in Kosovo.

Even as parliament agreed to end the sweeping package of emergency measures which have been in place for three months, army reservists were on the streets blocking roads with tanks and lorries. …