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Bosnia mass grave found

MOUNT MALUSA, Bosnia -- A mass grave containing bodies of victims of the notorious Foca prison camp has been discovered in Bosnia, Reuters has reported.

Bosnian Muslim officials found the grave hidden deep in a dense forest after receiving a letter signed by "a Serb from Foca," the agency said.

The letter writer said that bodies of 80 prisoners from the Foca prison camp, formed after local Serbs took over the town in the spring of 1992, were in the pit.

So far up to 15 bodies have been found in the pit. Exhumations are expected to take up to ten days to complete.

Amor Masovic, the head of the Commission for Missing Persons, said: "We already have eight skulls, and judging by shoes we can now talk about 13 or maybe even 15 (bodies)."

Masovic was speaking outside the Piljak pit on the steep slope of a mountain in eastern Bosnia. He said the narrow and barely accessible pit could contain more bodies.

"Based on my experience...we may talk about a layer of bodies of up to three to four-and-a-half metres (10 to 15 feet) below the current bottom surface," he told Reuters.

Investigative judge Ibrahim Hadzic said: "In any case, we can talk about several dozens of bodies."

Masovic said his commission would not have known about the pit were it not for a Serb from the nearby town of Foca, close to the border with Yugoslavia, who sent the letter five months ago.

He showed the envelope of the letter, signed "A Serb from Foca," to reporters and a visiting delegation of the International Commission for Missing Persons, led by its new head, America On Line (AOL) founder James Kimsey.

Of around 400 Muslims and a handful of other people who vanished after being held at the Foca prison camp, only two had been identified, Masovic said.

A prison camp commander Milorad Krnojelac, is on trial at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, charged with crimes against humanity.

Three other Serbs were convicted there in February for the mass rape of Muslim women and girls from Foca.

Bodies of 26 victims, also believed to be Muslims from Foca, were recovered from five sites around Foca during the past week.

Masovic said bullet cases indicated the victims were shot and then thrown into the newly found pit. Most of the bodies found so far were well preserved.

About 20,000 Bosnians, including about 17,000 Muslims, remain missing more than five years after the end of the war.

• International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
• Governments on the WWW: Bosnia and Herzegovina

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