Having gained access alongside fellow journalists Penny Marshall and Ian Williams, on 7 August 1992 British journalist Ed Vulliamy became the first to report from the Omarska concentration camp in the Prijedor region of northern Bosnia. Vulliamy’s account was published in The Guardian.
The Omarska camp was one of the most infamous of a number of concentration camps that were set up by Bosnian Serb forces during the Prijedor massacre, an extended series of killings that took place in the region throughout much of 1992. It is estimated that over 5,000 Bosnian Muslims and Croats were killed or disappeared from the town of Prijedor itself and around 14,000 from the surrounding area.
The camp at Omarska was established in May 1992 and used to detain Muslims and Croats, mainly men, who were deprived of food and subjected to brutal and inhumane treatment including torture, rape and executions. Over 7,000 prisoners passed through the camp during the period of its operation. Hundreds died.
The reports and photographs of emaciated prisoners from Omarska caused an international outcry, and the camp was shut down by the Bosnian Serbs swiftly afterwards. However, many of the remaining prisoners were simply transferred to other camps.
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