Croatian war flares as Serbian truce holds

Click to follow
The Independent Online
CROATIAN and Muslim forces were last night battling on the streets of Mostar as hundreds of civilians left the city in south-west Bosnia under Croatian military guard.

United Nations officials said 10 busloads of civilians, including women and children, were driven out of the city, and hinted that a new wave of 'ethnic cleansing' was under way.

The fighting flared after top Serbian and Muslim commanders in Bosnia ordered their forces to respect a new ceasefire. Despite reports of small-arms fire in some places, the truce appeared to be holding.

As the Serbs' guns fell silent, their leaders received another strong rebuke from Belgrade for their continued refusal to endorse the Vance- Owen peace plan. President Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia last night followed up the embargo against Bosnian Serbs with a ban on their leading politicians, including Radovan Karadzic, President of the self-styled Serb republic of Bosnia.

Biljana Plavsic, vice-president of the Bosnian Serbs, said she had been refused entry to Serbia. She said she had been stopped at the border, and informed by police that all leading Bosnian politicians and members of the Bosnian Serb assembly, many of whom live in Belgrade, had been barred from rump Yugoslavia.

At the rail bridge leading from Sremska Raca in Serbia to Bijeljina in Bosnia, police enforcing the embargo said they turned away 15 lorries yesterday.

The ceasefire talks, which excluded the Croats, also won an agreement to demilitarise two besieged Muslim enclaves in eastern Bosnia, Zepa and Srebrenica.

Under the plan, both Serbian and Muslim forces will either withdraw from the areas or surrender their weapons by 5pm today in Srebrenica and 5pm on Wednesday in Zepa. Three officers from each side will oversee the implementation of the plan along with UN military officials who will monitor the progress. Only UN forces will be allowed free movement in the areas.

US blames allies, page 8

(Map omitted)

Comments