Mujahedin force in Vitez

Click to follow
The Independent Online
VITEZ - A group of hardline mujahedin fighters from outside Bosnia are operating scarcely five miles from the British base at Vitez. The Muslim-led Bosnian army is having difficulty keeping them under control, writes Christopher Bellamy. They come from the Middle East and Africa, are very well armed and act with a determination and energy quite alien to the local forces.

On Sunday a British army patrol of two Warrior fighting vehicles encountered two mujahedin officers in a black jeep who politely but firmly indicated that the British should leave.

Then a large force of mujahedin - between 25 and 40 - appeared in trucks. The Warriors were about 200 yards apart. The mujahedin dismounted and fanned out to either side. 'They were very organised,' said Lance-Corporal Mark Waple. 'They had the heavy weapons at the back. There were Kalashnikovs, heavy machine guns, Russian 66s and two types of Russian made anti-tank rockets, like bazookas.'

'They were chanting 'Allahu Akbar',' said L/Cpl Waple. 'It was quite deafening if you've got 40 guys doing it.'

British diplomatic sources have estimated there are no more than 200 foreign troops in Bosnia, loosely affiliated to the Muslim cause. If so, at least 20 per cent of them surrounded the Warrior patrol on Sunday.