'Muslims execute 19 Croat soldiers'

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The Independent Online
MUSLIM forces in central Bosnia are reported to have executed 19 Bosnian Croats at the weekend. British soldiers from the UN peace-keeping force attempting to reach the town of Bugojno after Muslim forces in the area captured 22 Bosnian Croat soldiers were turned back by troops who said they had already shot 19 Croats trying to escape.

In the Vares region in central Bosnia, the site of a recent massacre of Muslims by Bosnian Croat forces, Muslim troops advanced to within six miles of the town. Red Cross officials have reported panic in the town as hundreds of Croats flee into the area to escape the Muslim advance, while thousands of Muslims try to get out.

In Belgrade, Thorvald Stoltenberg, the international mediator, said haggling over tiny amounts of territory was holding up a peace deal on Bosnia. 'The main obstacle is a dispute over 2.7 per cent of Bosnia,' he said. 'How can that justify people being killed in the meantime? I cannot understand why the three parties cannot agree on this 2.7 per cent when the alternative is immense suffering.'

Mr Stoltenberg admitted he had made little progress in selling the idea of a 'global solution' to the crisis in the former Yugoslavia during his talks with the Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic. 'He is not over-enthusiastic,' the Norwegian diplomat said. The approach would involve dealing with ethnic disputes in Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and in Serbia's Albanian-inhabited Kosovo province simultaneously instead of treating Bosnia in isolation.

In Sarajevo, the chief of the Bosnian army's general staff, Sefer Halilovic, has been placed under house arrest, charged with covering up war crimes, according to a senior government official.

(Photograph omitted)