The deadly perils of peace-keeping: Morillon threatens to pull out after Spanish officer is killed; Bosnia

THE United Nations peace-keeping effort in Bosnia looks increasingly doomed to failure. After a Spanish officer escorting an aid convoy was shot dead, General Philippe Morillon, the UN commander, threatenedto withdraw his troops because of increasing violence against the 'blue helmets'.

In an emotional appeal to Bosnians, Gen Morillon said that without a peace agreement, the republic would descend into 'total anarchy'. 'I implore these people to contact their local military and political leaders and urge them to put a stop to this madness,' he said. Otherwise 'this new escalation of violence . . . will lead to the total and inevitable destruction of your country'.

Lieutenant Jesus Aguilar Fernandez, a 27-year-old platoon commander, was killed when his patrol, which was escorting medical supplies to a hospital in a Muslim-held area of Mostar, came under intense fire near the Tito Bridge. The attack came from an area controlled by the HVO, the Croatian militia, said Commander Barry Frewer, spokesman for the UN forces in Bosnia.

Spanish forces returned fire but did not hit anyone. The death of Lt Aguilar, the third Spaniard to die in Bosnia, brings to 46 the number of UN troops killed in the former Yugoslavia.

It is not clear if Gen Morillon has the authority to withdraw his troops; peace-keeping policy has been set by the UN Security Council. It has passed a resolution to increase protection for UN troops guarding the 'safe areas', but is awaiting a report on how best to implement the resolution. The question now is how long the Security Council waits before it decides to speed up moves to protect its forces - or before member states decide to withdraw troops from Bosnia.

The British government was yesterday undecided whether its humanitarian effort should be strengthened to match the increased tension in Bosnia, or whether relief work is becoming too dangerous to justify a continuing British presence.

Ministers have declared themselves anxious to continue the relief work as long as it can be done without unnecessary risk to British troops. The Ministry of Defence was preparing at least two contingency plans; one would allow the deployment of more forces on the assumption that a beefed-up aid effort can continue. An alternative plan for the withdrawal of the current deployment was also being drawn up.

It was not clear if the attack in Mostar came in revenge for the shooting on Friday of two Croatian militiamen by British UN forces near Vitez, after they attacked a Muslim aid convoy heading for Tuzla. Part of the 'Convoy of Joy', a procession of 500 cars and lorries, continued its journey yesterday under British army escort, but looters forced some vehicles off the road.

British troops and European Community monitors were searching for the missing vehicles and their occupants; peace-keepers can account for only half the trucks. 'We have seen looting and some brutality where drivers have been removed from the convoy,' Commander Frewer said.

The situation in central and southern Bosnia has deteriorated in the past week, with soldiers of the UN Protection Force (Unprofor) facing increased aggression; British troops in particular are wary of possible reprisals from the HVO. Yesterday, the Britons fired on Croatian snipers who were shooting at their base in Vitez. A UN spokesman said the Croats were seen evacuating casualties after the incident.

'Unprofor is in a difficult position but we continue to operate to the best of our abilities within the terms of our mandate. If the warring parties want to make that difficult for us they can,' a UN official said. 'The UN is not in a position actively to engage them.' In the Jablanica area, north of Mostar, Croatian troops blocked traffic from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, whose spokeswoman in Geneva said the aid situation in central and eastern Bosnia had reached the 'worst case scenario'.

In Sarajevo, eight people at a funeral were killed when a Serbian shell struck the Muslim cemetery. Heavy shelling erupted in the capital last night and continuous firing could be heard in the distance. 'All defence lines of the Bosnian army around Sarajevo are being shelled,' the Muslim commander said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C#.NET Developer

£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL,MVVM, SOA...

Service Delivery Manager - Derivatives, Support,

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Delivery Manager - (Derivatives, Support...

Technical Account Manager - Java, FIX Protocol, FIX 5.0, C++

£30000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Technical Account Manager - Java,...

WPF .NET Developer

£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: WPF Analyst Programmer NET, WPF, C#, M...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform