Serbs set to capture key town

SERBIAN forces were poised for a crucial victory in the Bosnian war yesterday as they fought their way into Gorazde, the last Muslim stronghold in eastern Bosnia- Herzegovina. The town is inhabited by almost 100,000 Muslims, including 30,000 refugees from a Serbian 'ethnic cleansing' operation, which involves driving non-Serbs from their homes and creating purely Serbian regions.

Sarajevo Radio, the voice of Bosnia's Muslim-led government, said the Serbian forces were advancing with tanks, armoured vehicles, multiple rocket-launchers and heavy machine-guns. Bosnia's chief of staff, Sefer Halilovic, went on the radio to appeal to his units to rush to the town's defence. Kemal Muftic, an adviser to the Bosnian President, Alija Izetbegovic, appealed to the UN Security Council to 'meet urgently to stop the massacre' of the population of the town. The Bosnian Serb news agency said the Serbs had taken control of all strategic points around Gorazde, which is 40 miles south of Sarajevo, and had entered the outskirts of the town.

The Serbs launched their assault on Gorazde less than a week after capturing the strategically important town of Derventa in northern Bosnia. The Serbian objective is to link occupied areas of northern and eastern Bosnia with Serbia proper and with Croatian territory conquered last year.

Croatian forces have meanwhile established control over a wide stretch of south-western Herzegovina, which borders Croatia, and proclaimed an independent state there centred on the town of Mostar. The Serbs and Croats have therefore succeeded in taking control of about 90 per cent of Bosnia's territory. The Muslims - who are the republic's largest ethnic group, with 44 per cent of the population, but are the weakest in military terms - have been left with almost nothing.

Both Serbian and Croatian forces have stepped up their war efforts since Western countries began to threaten intervention in the conflict. In the event that they are obliged to lay down their guns, they want to have achieved as many of their war goals as possible. For their part, the Muslims are thoroughly dissatisfied with the limited nature of the Western involvement so far and are adamant that nothing short of direct military support will save them.

The perils facing Western operations in Bosnia were demonstrated yesterday when a United Nations relief convoy was forced to return to Sarajevo airport after failing to reach Zagreb. The convoy of 32 vehicles, mostly empty and travelling to collect fresh supplies, was carrying 73 Canadian and French soldiers. It snaked back over treacherous, hilly terrain after encountering roadblocks and landmines.

A UN spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said the mission's failure had no implications for the proposal by Western governments that a land corridor should be opened to allow humanitarian supplies to be transported from the Croatian port of Split to Sarajevo. But he added: 'It doesn't look like it is viable to do it from Zagreb.' The French government, among the most eager to see firm action, acceded yesterday to a UN request to delay sending a force of nine combat helicopters to Sarajevo. Colonel Jacques Gratteaux, commander of a helicopter regiment in eastern France, said the UN believed the operation would be too dangerous if it was based at Sarajevo airport. The French had intended to use the helicopters to monitor ceasefire violations and to conduct reconnaissance missions.

LOS ANGELES - Milan Panic, the Serbian-born Californian who has accepted the post of Serbian prime minister, is being sued by US authorities for defaulting on a dollars 8.4m ( pounds 4.4m) loan he assumed when he bought a motel in 1985, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday, Reuter reports.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister

Met Police confirm it was a 'minor disturbance' and no-one was arrested

News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf plays a World War II soldier in forthcoming drama Fury
films

Eccentric Fury star, 28, reveals he is 'not a really confident actor'

Life and Style
Time and Oak have developed a product that allows drinkers to customise the flavour and improve the quality of cheaper whiskey
food + drink

Sport
football

Peter Biaksangzuala died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday

Life and Style
The final 12 acts will be facing Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Mel B and Louis Walsh tonight
fashion

The X Factor's judges colourful outfit was mocked by Simon Cowell

News
news

Footage shot by a passerby shows moment an ill man was carried out of his burning home

News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Senior Change Engineer (Windows, Linux, VMWare) - London £35k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past