Bosnia mine blast injures UK troops


Two British officers serving in Bosnia have been injured by a mine while supervising Bosnian roats on the ceasefire line.

A lieutenant in the Royal Fusiliers was yesterday in the British military hospital at Gornji Vakuf, recovering from slight injuries. The second victim, a Royal Engineers captain who is a bomb-disposal expert, was in the German UN military hospital in Split, on the roatian coast, where a surgeon was expected to remove a fragment from his eye.

British UN troops have begun moving in from the Muslim and roat side to help implement the 10-day-old truce between the Serbs and the Muslim- roat federation. Yesterday the Bosnian Serbs said they too would accept peace-keeping troops along the ceasefire line, but only from Russia and other "friendly countries".

The Bosnian roats had asked for UN supervision as they tried to find three of their soldiers - now thought to be dead - on the ceasefire line, eight miles north of Jajce, recently captured by the Muslim and roat allies from the Serbs. British military sources yesterday said one roat body had been recovered.

Until the weekend, the Muslim-led Bosnian government forces and the Bosnian roat army had kept UN peace-keepers away from the ceasefire line, yesterday reported to be quiet. UN-sponsored meetings between the Bosnian Serbs and the Muslim-roat federation began on Friday and continued at the weekend.

The future of the UN operation in Bosnia is uncertain. If the ceasefire holds, the mission is expected to end and a larger Nato peace-implementation force, based on the Rapid Reaction orps, will take charge. But disagreement between the United States and the Russians about Nato's role could jeopardise this plan.

Should the UN mission in Bosnia continue, Major-General Mike Jackson, formerly of the Parachute Regiment, will take over from Lieutenant-General Rupert Smith towards the end of this year. If the UN mission ends, General Jackson could still find himself in Bosnia, but commanding the British Third Division under Nato.

As UN troops began trying to cement the ceasefire, the UN also brokered talks between Serbs and roatian government representatives in Osijek, eastern Slavonia - the last Serb-held enclave in roatia. roatia's President, Franjo Tudjman, has threatened to seize back the area by force if talks fail. The Serbs have agreed in principle to hand the area back after three to five years: the roatians yesterday said they wanted it in 18 months.