Bosnian buses attacked

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The Independent Online
VITEZ (Reuter) - Dozens of people including women and children take cover (left) in a roadside ditch, some bleeding profusely from their faces and limbs, after their buses were attacked by mortar fire. Four buses bringing Bosnian 'guestworkers' and relatives home from abroad were hit by mortar fire in central Bosnia and at least two people were killed and 14 wounded. Journalists saw one mortar round smash a bus awaiting clearance at the main Croatian checkpoint between Vitez and Travnik.

British peacekeepers later barred dozens of people who survived the attack from seeking safety in their Bosnian base near Vitez. 'We are frightened, we've been shot at and robbed,' wailed one Muslim woman as a captain with the First Battalion, The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire barred the way. 'We are not responsible for the area outside the camp,' the officer said, putting his hand over a television camera lens. 'You are the responsibility of the local (Croatian) authorities. There is nothing I can do.'

Men with bloodied shirts and new plaster casts crouched on the ground as sniper fire cracked on the other side of the British base under a full moon. 'I understand your fears . . . (but) you are standing on an emergency route for our armoured vehicles and you are putting us as well as yourselves at risk,' he told the crowd, which roared its displeasure. The survivors said they were terrified of the local Croatian forces and wanted to remain as close to the British camp as possible. 'You are preventing our soldiers from seeing the gunmen around the base,' the captain said. At 11:15pm, the survivors were still milling around at the entrance to the camp.

(Photograph omitted)