Serbian gunman kills Bosnia's deputy PM

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The Independent Online
SARAJEVO (Reuter) - A Serbian gunman killed the Bosnian deputy Prime Minister Hakija Turajlic last night as he sat in the back of a United Nations armoured vehicle at a Serbian checkpoint, French officers said.

Captain Eric Bucquet said Turajlic was on his was back to the besieged Bosnian capital from meeting a Turkish delegation at Sarajevo airport when the UN armoured personnel carrier was blocked by two Serbian vehicles at the impromptu checkpoint.

A French battalion commander went to the scene and said tension seemed to be draining from the stand-off when a Serb suddenly pulled a pistol and fired shots through the open rear door of the vehicle. Turajlic was dead on arrival at the UN headquarters in the city.

In northern Bosnia earlier yesterday, British troops came under artillery fire, destroying the Royal Engineers' workshop at Tomislavgrad. Four vehicles were also damaged, but no Britons were hurt.

Major-General Philippe Morillon, the French commander of all UN troops in Bosnia, complained to the high command of the Bosnian Serb army, and last night the Serbs did not deny responsibility.

The British base at Tomislavgrad has 500 troops, mostly from 35 Engineer Regiment and medical, ordnance and transport personnel. The Ministry of Defence said 114 artillery shells were fired in the attack, which began at 12.45pm and lasted for more than an hour.

In addition to the serious damage to the workshop, three Land Rovers and an eight-tonne truck were also hit.

The British did not return fire but took cover in the basement of the school that they are using as a base.