When the war spread to Kosovo, Sally and her volunteers brought aid to both sides of the conflict but as the war continued to escalate aid agencies pulled out and the borders were closed. They brought a convoy to Northern Albania where thousands of refugees were fleeing from the fighting and Sally was told there were many children in need of medical supplies just across the border. Guided by a soldier from the KLA, she crossed the mountains on foot bringing paediatric medicines to the hospital in Junik. Serb paramilitaries had surrounded the area and Sally was asked to evacuate 15 sick and injured children and their families to safety.
When they reached the border the group sat down to rest. Mothers fed their babies and the children were given water and biscuits while they waited for the signal to move on. Suddenly the sound of machine gunfire echoed through the trees and the women and children escaped into the forest. Sally stayed behind to help a woman and her two young children who were caught in the cross fire and tried to protect them from the bullets and grenades while a helicopter gunship hovered overhead. They were eventually captured and taken to Gakova where the children were released to the care of an Aunt. Sally and Hana were interrogated and after three days Hana was released. Sally was sentenced to thirty days in prison for crossing the border without a visa.
After two weeks in Liplyan Prison Sally was pardoned and immediately returned to Tropoje to search for the families who had managed to cross safely into Albania. While she was arranging to take them abroad for medical treatment, she and Liz Dack, a British nurse, were attacked by masked gunmen outside their hotel in Bajram Curri. Sally was shot through the leg and needed urgent medical treatment so the President sent his Minister of Health to evacuate her to safety. She asked if they could take the women and children with them but the helicopter was too small so she refused to leave, remaining there for several weeks until the children were accepted for treatment abroad.
The children prepare for the journey across the mountains
Four year old Marigona says goodbye to her Grandmother
Hana and her daughters moments before the ambush.
Copyright © Sally Becker. All Rights Reserved