Archbishop held by Sarajevo Serbs

Click to follow
The Independent Online
(First Edition)

SARAJEVO (AP) - Bosnian-Serb soldiers yesterday stopped Croats, including Msgr Vinko Puljic, the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church in Bosnia, as they left Sarajevo on a peace mission. The archbishop was released and returned to Sarajevo but two were held.

The six Croats and their UN escorts, in three French armoured personnel carriers, were stopped at a Serbian checkpoint as they headed toward Vares, hoping to ease tensions there after fighting between Croats and the Muslim-led Bosnian army.

A UN spokesman said about 50 Serbian soldiers surrounded the vehicles and abducted two of the Bosnian-Croats saying they were war criminals. The two, Jozo Andjic and Ferdo Dejanovic, were taken to a police station.

He said Thorvald Stoltenberg, the UN mediator, currently in Zagreb and due in Sarajevo today 'takes this case very seriously and is pursuing it with Serb authorities in Pale'. The incident, in a Serb-held suburb, highlights the low level of respect many have for UN troops.

Six buses began leaving Sarajevo for Belgrade with Serbian women, children and elderly men.

It is the first big evacuation convoy since May. At least one bus was fired on.

Jarle Thorgersen, a logistics officer of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said 642 people were to be evacuated from Sarajevo in stages.

Officials said the plan was far behind schedule because of thorough searches of evacuees' luggage, delays at Bosnian checkpoints in Sarajevo, and chaos caused by throngs of would-be evacuees trying to get on the buses even though they were not on the list.