'Anarchy rules' in Croatia peace zone
Friday 02 October 1992
Cedric Thornberry, the deputy chief of the UN mission in Yugoslavia, accused local Serbian police of being behind a wave of ethnic killings in the region.
'We are seeing a return to terrorism in the UN zones, and to the most brutal kind of ethnic cleansing,' he said. 'People are being brutally murdered and grenades thrown into their homes. The police are not policing and the courts are afraid to sit.'
Mr Thornberry made it clear that the 'special militia', set up in Serbian-held regions of eastern and central Croatia after the withdrawal of the Yugoslav army, were involved in more than 50 ethnic-based murders, reported to have taken place in the UN zones in recent weeks. 'Many of the terrorists belong to the so-called special militia,' he said. 'In many cases they belong to gangs who have moved in from Serbia.'
Mr Thornberry's decision to admit publicly that a crisis is afflicting the UN zones in Croatia marks a break with past practice. Until now, UN officials have seemed reluctant to admit the peace plan was running into trouble. The move reflects a degree of desperation in the UN and fears that the collapse of the plan could trigger a fresh war between Croatia and Serbia.
The statement comes after the UN narrowly averted a shoot-out in eastern Croatia between Serbian forces and more than 1,000 refugees attempting to reclaim their homes. Mr Thornberry had sharp words for Croatian politicians who backed the march from the Croatian-held city of Osijek to the Serbian-held village of Antunovac. 'They are risking refugees' lives,' he said. He described the march as 'the height of folly'.
In London, a British reconnaissance party that returned from Bosnia last night will be debriefed at the Ministry of Defence this morning. Army sources say that the group will recommend air cover for army contingents escorting UN relief convoys. One source said a regiment of helicopters was on standby in Germany.
The party also wants more freedom for British troops to open fire - before being fired upon, if necessary. It is understood that they believe the 'yellow card' system, similar to that used in Northern Ireland, would be too constricting.
It is also clear that British troops may not be operational in Bosnia until the end of November. The reconnaissance party has found the situation on the ground to be even more difficult than envisaged. A second reconnaissance party, to explore new routes into Bosnia from the south-west instead of the north-east, is being considered. Sources said the reconnaissance had demonstrated that the British would not be able to cross ethnic frontlines.
In Geneva, diplomats said that the co-chairmen of the peace conference on Yugoslavia, Lord Owen and Cyrus Vance, averted a Serb-Croat agreement on demilitarising Sarajevo, which would have isolated the Muslim-led government in Sarajevo.
'Only some fast footwork by Vance and Owen over the past 48 hours stopped this happening and got agreement from all three sides that they have to talk about peace on the ground together,' one diplomat told Reuters news agency.
BELGRADE - Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a police patrol in the town of Glogovac, in Serbia's Kosovo province, killing an officer and seriously wounding another, Tanjug news agency reported, AFP reports. In another incident, a Yugoslav army lieutenant-colonel was shot and wounded while driving towards the northern town of Podujevo, a centre of the pro-independence movement among Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority, Politika Expres reported.
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Feminist quotes to inspire you on the International Women's Day
Belle Knox: How the porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber
International Women's Day 2014: Mothers and daughters describe their hopes and dreams in touching photographs
Liam Neeson on death of wife Natasha Richardson: ‘When I hear the door opening, I still think I’m going to hear her’
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Too upsetting? Academy members voted for Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave 'without watching it'
- 3 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 4 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role to marry Natasha Richardson
- 5 Livr: A social network only for drunk people
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...