GIs survive Bosnia mine

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A US Bradley armoured troop carrier yesterday became the second Nato vehicle in two days to hit a Bosnian anti-tank mine, but this time the crew escaped injury.

Three British soldiers were killed on Sunday when their Spartan troop carrier hit a mine in the so-called Anvil area between Mrkonjic Grad and Titov Drvar. Their bodies were taken to Split yesterday and will be flown home to Britain at the end of the week.

The US troops were luckier; their vehicle avoided the full force of the blast, losing a track and its right rear wheel. The Bradley was in the "zone of separation", the four-kilometre-wide area between Serb and Muslim- Croat forces 17 kilometres south of Tuzla, when the blast occurred.

The peace implementation force - I-For - has received records of known minefields from the three former warring sides but not all minefields were recorded, records were lost in the fighting and some of the officers responsible have been killed. The British-led division based at Gornji Vakuf has received records of 1,975 mined areas from the three sides, and there must be a similar number in both the US and French sectors. "The line of confrontation in this area is really one large minefield," said Major Pari Karonen, a spokesman for the US-led northern area, around Tuzla.

The British, however, face the biggest problem, as in addition to patrolling the zone of separation they are having to prepare the 400-square-mile Anvil for handing back to the Bosnian Serbs. All Croat forces must be out of the area by Monday. But clearing or marking all the mines in the area is an impossible task.