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Reuters and the military

I strongly endorse the dismay and outrage of distinguished colleagues and The Baron website over the covenant with the British military. Many others have had more serious encounters than I where Reuters reputation and respect for its impartiality avoided an unpleasant outcome - suffice to say it stood me in good stead in Mozambique, Nigeria and Iraq among others.


But it also brought to mind one occasion when I and Reuters were very grateful for the presence of the British army, when Hugh PainCorrine Dufka and UPI’s Kevin Sullivan where blown up by a landmine in Bosnia, in January, 1993.


The first news of this came on a satellite phone to the bureau in Belgrade from an Army captain with multinational peacekeeping forces, advising: “We’ve just received a report that an entire Reuters reporting team has been blown up by a landmine in Gornji Vacuf”.


The British patrol managed to extract them, under fire, from where fighting was going on, and get them to a field hospital for treatment - Corrine suffered a badly gashed face, Hugh with virtually all the bones in both feet broken and Kevin with both legs badly broken.


The following day a Danish armoured ambulance took them to Sarajevo, where they were taken on a UN relief flight to Zagreb, then medivaced to London.


Back in the Belgrade bureau, the same day, the satellite phone was busy reporting that a photographer had been wounded by a sniper in Sarajevo and a television cameraman had been hit by shrapnel from a shell. ■