Latest clashes 'leave 55 dead'

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The Independent Online
SARAJEVO (Reuter) - At least 55 people were reported killed and scores wounded in weekend fighting between Croats and Muslims, formerly allies in the Bosnian civil war, on the eve of a planned resumption of peace talks in Geneva.

Croatia's Hina news agency reported 42 Muslim soldiers killed in an abortive Muslim offensive between the villages of Buna and Blagaj, some 10km (6 miles) south of the ethnically divided Bosnian town of Mostar.

It said Muslim forces began attacks on Croatian positions on Saturday morning using captured civilians as human shields. The civilians were later killed, Hina said. The allegation could not be immediately confirmed.

Muslim-controlled Bosnian radio said Muslim troops captured the area around Blagaj and reported four people killed and 16 wounded in a Croatian attack on the Muslim-held part of Mostar.

In Geneva, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, condemned the killing of one of its drivers, hit by a sniper's bullet as he drove a UN armoured vehicle through the disputed town of Vitez in central Bosnia on Saturday.

Boris Zevracic, 27, was murdered by a high-velocity, high calibre bullet 'while driving a clearly identifiable UNHCR armoured vehicle', the agency said in a statement.

The Bosnian Croat command for central Bosnia said yesterday it was suspending co-operation with UN forces because an agreement to demilitarise the village of Nova Bila, near Vitez, had not been implemented.

Since the agreement was announced, Muslim snipers had killed nine people and wounded 14, it said.

UN sources said the Muslim-led Bosnian government army attacked Croatian positions on Mount Zvinigrad, near Fojnica, in the Gornji Vakuf region.

Bosnian radio said Gornji Vakuf was being 'reduced to rubble' by Croatian guns.