British-Croatian tensions mount

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The Independent Online
TENSION mounted round the British base at Vitez yesterday after Monday night's killing of a female interpreter working for the British United Nations forces just outside the base during an exchange of fire between Bosnian Muslim (BiH) and Croat forces.

One of the senior local Croat commanders, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, was on the scene yesterday morning clearly seeking to calm relations between the British and the Bosnian Croat HVO. Immediately after the incident the British sent out Warrior infantry fighting vehicle patrols which appear to have destroyed some Croatian trenches in the area from where the firing came.

The shooting happened only nine hours after a rocket-propelled grenade fired from BiH lines landed within 30 yards of a house rented by the British army, injuring a small boy.

Further down the valley, however, tension eased slightly after two Bosnian Croat officers were extricated from the Canadian base at Visoko where they had been trapped by BiH forces who accused one of them of involvement in the death of four refugees. They left at about 10.30pm on Monday in a convoy led by the Spanish deputy commander of the UN's Bosnia-Herzegovina command, Brigadier-General Prado. Yesterday the BiH blockade had gone.

BELGRADE - Danielle Mitterrand, wife of the French President, said she had failed to persuade the Serbian leader, Slobodan Milosevic, to free the Serbian opposition leader, Vuk Draskovic, and his wife, Danica, Reuter reports.

The couple were severely beaten by police after leading a demonstration on 2 June. They have been temporarily taken from prison for treatment in hospital. Mrs Mitterrand, who visited them, said their condition was 'pitiable'.

Mr Milosevic's office issued an ironic statement afterwards wishing Mrs Mitterrand a pleasant stay in Serbia.