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Bosnian town suffers 2 hunger deaths

The Bosnian town of Bihac, cut off by Serb roadblocks from aid supplies, has suffered its first deaths from hunger, the U.N. refugee agency said Saturday.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said an elderly man was found dead in his apartment, where he left a letter saying he had nothing to eat and was too proud to beg. The second victim, a 3-year-old boy, weighed only 15 pounds.

Two convoys reached Bihac last week, only the fourth and fifth since April 5. They could provide only 10 percent of the needs of the 164,000 residents.

Rebel Serbs in Croatia, who hold territory surrounding the Bihac area in the far northwest corner of Bosnia, have been obstructing aid convoys for a year. The Serbs have agreed to allow two convoys a week into Bihac, and the UNHCR is sending the first one Tuesday.

"The atmosphere in Bihac is desperate," said a statement based on a visit there Friday by U.N. spokesman Mans Nyberg. "Almost everybody you see in the streets of Bihac is skinny and haggard-looking."

"Their psychological stress is enormous," the statement said. "One mother of six children tells us that she sometimes has to go out in the street to escape having to listen to her children crying of hunger."

Bosnian Serbs, meanwhile, rained random shell fire on Sarajevo, the capital, killing at least eight people and wounding 59, hospital employees and witnesses said.

The United Nations said it had sent a strong protest to Gen. Ratko Mladic, commander of the Bosnian Serb army, demanding that his forces halt the apparently unprovoked attacks.