UN guns pound Serb mortars into silence

CHRISTOPHER BELLAMY

Defence Correspondent

The UN Rapid Reaction Force in Bosnia opened fire with its new heavy artillery for the first time on Tuesday night, hitting Bosnian Serb mortar positions north-east of Sarajevo after the Serbs had fired on a UN position manned by Egyptian troops for the second time.

Lieutenant-General Rupert Smith, the British commander of United Nations forces in Bosnia, now has the authority to authorise artillery strikes without reference to the UN special envoy, Yasushi Akashi.

In the meantime, new efforts were announced to avoid an all-out conflict between Serb and Croat forces in southern Bosnia. The two sides have agreed to meet for talks to avert a threatened Croatian offensive against Trebinje, from where the Serbs have been shelling the ancient city of Dubrovnik. The major of Trebinje, Bozidar Vucurevic, said that a group of European observers had been acting as mediators .

Six high explosive shells, each weighing 43kg (95 lbs), fired from two massive French armoured guns on Mount Igman, slammed into the target at about 10pm local time, three hours after the Serbs' second attack on the Egyptian UN position.

The first attack had injured six Egyptians, two seriously. The UN did not respond because they could not establish exactly where the mortar fire had come from.

"The Serb guns fell silent", a UN source added. "That's why we think we hit them". Twelve British light guns were dug in a month ago on the slopes of the mountain, which rises more than 6,000ft south-west of Sarajevo.

The French , who provide the other main component of the 10,000-strong Rapid Reaction Force, then committed eight self-propelled guns, which have light armoured protection in case they come under fire from hostile artillery and mortars.

Four of the French guns, with a range of 28km (17 miles) were in position on the mountain on Tuesday night. Another four had been delayed at the Croatia-Bosnia border, but the UN hoped to be able to bring them into Bosnia yesterday.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'