UN aid convoys harassed by Serbs

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The Independent Online
SARAJEVO (AP) - United Nations convoys carrying more than 650 tons of aid set out for Bosnia's neediest cities yesterday to replenish alarmingly low stocks in Sarajevo and relieve near-starvation elsewhere. But UN officials reported convoys running into trouble where help was most needed.

Nine convoys left yesterday for Sarajevo, Vitez, Zenica, Konjic and Bugojno. A spokesman for the UN described it as the largest relief effort for weeks. But other UN officials said convoys continued to be hindered by Serbian rebels in south-western Bosnia.

The supply question took on additional urgency on Thursday following UN report that nearly 5,000 hungry Muslims were fleeing two eastern villages on foot, with some reportedly starving on their trek to a safer haven. UN officials in Tuzla said Serbian militiamen were letting the Muslims leave besieged towns to carry out 'ethnic cleansing' in the region. 'These people are arriving in very bad medical condition . . . and there are reports of deaths along the way,' the UN statement said.

Another report said Sarajevo was down to its last three days of food stocks. About 20 planes, with more than 200 tons of aid, were to land in Sarajevo yesterday.

Croatian Serbs said they shot down a Croatian plane that tried to bomb Mirkovci, a Serbian-held village near Vinkovci. The Croats denied it. Belgrade television later showed footage of a wrecked ultra-light glider.