Serbs kill 12 waiting in queue for water

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AT LEAST 12 people were killed and 15 wounded in Sarajevo's Dobrinja district yesterday, when Serb forces fired mortar bombs on a queue of civilians as they waited for water.

The cold-blooded massacre was a deliberate act by the Serbs. On several occasions in Bosnia's civil war they have singled out bread, milk or water queues as targets for death- dealing mortar bombs.

In May last year more than 20 people were killed and dozens wounded when a mortar bomb fired from Serb positions exploded in a crowded street in Sarajevo's Old Town where people were queuing for bread.

The Dobrinja massacre was not difficult to carry out. The suburb, near the airport, is exposed on all sides to Serb gunfire at close range.

The Serbs carried out this act on the day their supreme warlord, Radovan Karadzic, agreed with his Muslim counterpart to reconnect Sarajevo with water and electricity. Under an agreement between Bosnia's Muslim President, Alija Izetbegovic, and Dr Karadzic, brokered by the French Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Bernard Kouchner, who arrived in Sarajevo at Mr Izetbegovic's invitation at the weekend, United Nations engineers will carry out vital repairs in the city in the next few days.

Earlier, the Bosnians appeared to block an agreement on repairing the power supply to Sarajevo, citing fears that the UN would reconnect power to a big Bosnian Serb arms factory in the Serb-held suburb of Vogosca, north of the city.

But hundreds of new cases of typhus and dysentery over the weekend in the Bosnian capital evidently persuaded the Muslim-led Bosnian authorities to change their minds, and get fresh water flowing whatever the cost.

South of Sarajevo, Muslim forces suffered another devastating reverse when Serb forces ploughed into the town of Trnovo. The fall to the Serbs of this overwhelmingly Muslim town strengthens the Serb stranglehold around the Muslim-held town of Gorazde, a few miles across the mountains to the east, as well as dealing the Muslims a big psychological blow.

ISLAMABAD - Islamic foreign ministers yesterday pledged more than 7,600 troops for a UN protection force in Bosnia, Reuter reports.

In London, Baroness Chalker, the Overseas Development Minister, said Britain would give an extra pounds 18.5m to help war victims in Bosnia. The extra cash will pay for high energy food, aid convoys, staff costs and infrastructure work in coalmines and power generators.