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Source: Reuters articles (compiled by BosNet)

Airlift Suspended
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) -- The United Nations today suspended the humanitarian airlift to Sarajevo, a day after gunfire hit two U.N. planes at the airport.

In the city center, one person was killed and 11 injured in intense sniper fire, as U.N. efforts to keep tensions from rising appeared to be unraveling. Authorities halted traffic and suspended streetcar service.

U.N. officials said food stockpiled for the winter has already been exhausted and they hoped the airlift could be resumed quickly.

U.N. spokesman Maj. Koos Sol said gunfire that hit one plane Friday was believed to have come from the Bosnian government side, and shots hitting the second plane from the Bosnian Serb side. There were no injuries.

The airlift had resumed only Friday after a two-week hiatus, bringing in 100 tons of food, or a half-day supply for the city's 360,000 residents, said Peter Kessler, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Zagreb, Croatia.

On Friday, Bosnian Serbs again refused to permit a convoy carrying nearly 100 tons of food into Sarajevo. The last food convoy to reach the Bosnian capital arrived the day of the air strike.

Kris Janowski, a UNHCR spokesman in Sarajevo, said there were only enough rations and flour for the city bakery to last another three days.

On Mount Igman, southwest of Sarajevo, U.N. peacekeepers continued today to move government soldiers out of a demilitarized zone.

The aggressive action appeared aimed at preventing an escalation in fighting between Bosnian Serb and government troops after 16 Serb soldiers and four nurses were killed. Their bodies were found Thursday just outside the zone.

The Bosnian government confirmed that its soldiers killed the Serbs in a commando attack.

Sol said that 521 government troops had been ``pushed out of the area,'' since the sweep began Thursday afternoon.
Serb corpses mutilated in Muslim attack
Thu, 6 Oct 94 10:00:18 PDT
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (Reuter) - U.N. peacekeepers found the corpses of 16 Serb soldiers and four nurses, many of them mutilated, after a surprise attack by Muslim forces near Sarajevo Thursday, U.N. envoy Yasushi Akashi said.

He spoke to reporters after talks with members of the Muslim-led Bosnian presidency to discuss a strong protest by the Bosnian Serb Army, or BSA.

Peacekeepers feared retaliation by the BSA, which shelled Sarajevo's civilian population last month after an attack on its lines by Bosnian government forces.

Serb sources told Reuters that ``a large Muslim sabotage unit'' attacked the BSA's Trnovo Battalion on Mount Bjelasnica near the demilitarized zone around Sarajevo.

The attack followed Akashi's success in persuading the Serbs to end a nearly two-week-old blockade of U.N. aid supplies to Muslim civilians and allow Sarajevo airport to reopen.

Akashi confirmed the airport was back in business but there were no relief flights. The United Nations said countries which fly aid to the Bosnian capital were examining security arrangement before resuming the air bridge.

The Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA said Radovan Karadzic complained to Akashi Wednesday that the Muslims were waging an offensive against his forces.

``Serbs are for the moment refraining from responding but we will soon review whether to launch a counteroffensive,'' it quoted him as saying.

U.N. spokesman Paul Risley said Akashi threatened the Serbs with total isolation if they did not suspend their blockade of relief supplies, imposed in retaliation for a NATO air strike last month.

``It was made clear to the Bosnian Serbs that in addition to a virtual political cutoff, they would also face dire military consequences for their actions should further attacks occur against U.N. personnel,'' he added.

Akashi brushed aside Serb demands for cash and joint control of the airport with the United Nations and told reporters they won no concessions for allowing the airlift to restart.

``There are no conditions. We will be acting on the basis of the June 1992 agreement,'' he said, referring to the handover of the airport to U.N. supervision by the Serbs two years ago.

With the harsh Balkan winter closing in, U.N. peacekeepers were desperate to have the Serbs unblock ground and air relief operations to allow supplies to be built up.
20 Killed In Bosnia
Thu, 6 Oct 94 10:20:27 PDT
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) -- Sixteen Serb soldiers and four nurses were killed Thursday in an attack by Bosnian government forces, the United Nations said. The victims' throats had been slit and some of the bodies burned.

The top U.N. official in Yugoslavia, Yasushi Akashi, said the 20 bodies ``were in many cases mutilated.'' He called it a ``tragic incident'' and said he feared the agreement with Serbs that reopened the Sarajevo airport Thursday was in jeopardy.

A U.N. military spokesman, Maj. Koos Sol, confirmed a government attack by Muslim-led forces on Serb positions in the area.

Akashi, who appealed for calm, said he hoped the killings would not undermine the airport accord.

The airport has been closed because of veiled Serb threats to shoot at planes after a NATO airstrike on a Serb tank Sept. 22. U.N. commanders requested the strike after Serb attacks on French peacekeepers.

Spokesman Kris Janowski of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees agency said officials of countries participating in the airlift were meeting to decide whether conditions were safe enough to resume flights.

Serbs and Bosnian government forces did manage to make one of their largest prisoner swaps of the war earlier Thursday.

After a nearly 10-hour delay, the exchange began at dawn at Sarajevo's Brotherhood and Unity Bridge. The exchange was carried out in a series of shuttles across the bridge in U.N. vehicles.

U.N. spokeswoman Claire Grimes said 295 prisoners were exchanged. Bosnian Serbs released 166 people, and the Muslim-led government released 129.

The exchange almost collapsed again when Serbs sent about 120 Muslims across the bridge Wednesday afternoon after forcing them from their homes in the Rogatica area east of Sarajevo.

Bosnian Serbs are trying to expel all non-Serbs from the 70 percent of Bosnia they control. Thousands of Muslims have been expelled from Serb-held areas in northern and central Bosnia in recent weeks.
U.N. Withdraws Mutilation Charge In Bosnia (excerpts)
By Kurt Schork
Sarajevo, Oct 7 (Reuter) - The U.N. on Friday withdrew allegations Bosnian government troops mutilated and executed Serbs in an attack west of Sarajevo on Thursday and said the victims appeared to have been killed in battle.

``With the benefit of having now had some time to look at how this attack developed I would say it was an aggressive military attack on a command post,'' Lieutenant Colonel Tim Spicer, a U.N. spokesman, told reporters.

``What took place was an attack that was pressed home vigorously and was successful and in my opinion mutilation did not take place.''

Among the dead were four sentries found with their throats slit. Spicer acknowledged that killing sentries in such a manner would not be unusual.

``In commando-style operations it would not be unusual to kill sentries silently,'' he said. ``The killing of sentries quietly is not without precedent.''

Colonel Pierre Doucros, who visited the scene on Thursday, said: ``Some of them have been executed. They had been shot in the head. Others have been killed as defending their positions.''

But Colonel Spicer said there was no evidence to support the term

``I think the term execution is probably wrong,'' he added. ``There was no indication of people being tied up and shot. All the indications are that they were shot during the course of the battle.''
08-Oct-94 03:41
U.N.-Bosnian relations sour after attack on Serbs
By Kurt Schork
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (Reuter) - U.N.-Muslim relations soured Saturday following a Muslim commando raid in which 20 Serb soldiers and women nurses were killed prompting Serb threats of revenge.

Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic demanded a public apology from U.N. officials after they withdrew an allegation that some of the Serbs were executed and their corpses mutilated in a surprise attack Thursday morning.

He accused U.N. special envoy Yasushi Akashi of slandering his troops after a U.N. spokesman admitted that an investigation showed the 20 "died in the course of battle."

A spokesman for Akashi said he was unlikely to comply because the circumstances of the attack by Bosnia's Muslim-led government army "don't warrant any sort of apology."

Hours later, U.N. officials discovered bullet holes in two U.N. planes that had taken off from Sarajevo to resume a much-needed airlift to the encircled Bosnian capital.

They said it was not yet clear whether the bullet holes were new or old, but the U.N. airlift appeared to be in jeopardy again.

"Obviously we take this very seriously and we are investigating. If it is determined that the shooting occurred today it will probably have an adverse affect on the flights tomorrow," U.N. spokesman Paul Risley told Reuters.

The Bosnian government attack on a Serb command post upset the United Nations Peacekeeping Force (UNPROFOR) because it was launched from the Mount Igman area of the demilitarized zone which the Serbs surrendered to the U.N. last year.

The area, including nearby Mount Bjelasnica, under a treaty signed on Aug. 14, 1993, was supposed to be free from any military presence except for UNPROFOR.

The attack prompted French troops to fire warning shots and evict 550 men of the Bosnian army from the snowswept slopes of Igman during the night and blow up their bunkers and trenches.

A senior U.N. officer told Reuters that Akashi made clear to the Bosnian government that he would order NATO air strikes against its forces if they refused to withdraw.

UNPROFOR spokesman Tim Spicer said: "The point of issue here as far as UNPROFOR is concerned is the violation of the DMZ .. The tactics employed and the specific attack are not really our concern. That is a matter for the warring parties."

The commander of the U.N. patrol which found the bodies of the 20 Serbs had said that some of them had been mutilated and some had been executed.

His conclusion was based on the fact that four of the corpses had their throats cut, but Spicer said they were sentries who had been killed silently.

"What took place was an attack that was pressed home vigorously and was successful and in my opinion mutilation did not take place," Spicer said.

He denied there was evidence of executions saying: "There was no indication of people being tied up and shot. All the indications are that they were shot in the course of battle ... I think the term execution is probably wrong."
08-Oct-94 13:43
Moslem civilians hit in Serb revenge attack
(Eds: updates confirmed casualty toll to one dead, 11 wounded)
By Sabina Cosic
SARAJEVO, Oct 8 (Reuter) - Bosnian Serbs raked three Sarajevo trams with machinegun fire on Saturday, killing one man and seriously wounding 11 people, including seven children, in an apparent revenge attack.

The fusillade followed a warning by hardline Bosnian Serb leader Momcilo Krajinsik that Serbs would retaliate for the killing of 20 Serb soldiers and women nurses in a commando raid by the Moslem-led Bosnian army.

Gunfire at Sarajevo airport forced the U.N. refugee agency to suspend its newly restored aid flights to the city but a spokesman said they would resume on Sunday.

Eyewitnesses saw some victims hit several times in a 12 minute machinegun barrage on Sarajevo's notorious "sniper alley." It forced U.N. peacekeepers to deploy armoured cars as a shield against the attackers.

Hospital doctors treated 11 wounded, six of whom were seriously hurt including boys aged 14 and 16, according to a Reuters reporter at the scene. Five other children were less seriously hurt.

U.N. spokesmen said Saturday's firing came from Bosnian Serb Army (BSA) positions in Sarajevo's Jewish cemetery.

Yasushi Akashi, the U.N. special envoy for former Yugoslavia, condemned "this flagrant and deliberate attack on civilians" which violated an August 14 agreement between the Serbs and Bosnian government forces to end sniping.

Krajisnik told the Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA on Friday night that "Serbs cannot be passive" after the killing of the 20 soldiers and nurses the previous day.

BSA deputy commander General Milan Gvero said the Serbs expected the U.N. to call in NATO air power if necessary to ensure Moslem forces do not violate a demilitarised zone outside Sarajevo close to where the ambush occurred.

The U.N. described the attack on the Serbs, at a BSA command post outside Sarajevo, as a military operation by the Moslem-led Bosnian army, whereas Serb targets on Saturday were civilians.

Serb revenge attacks on Moslem civilians for military reverses have marked BSA tactics during 30 months of fighting in which 10,000 people have died in Sarajevo alone.
07-Oct-94 12:34
Izetbegovic demands Akashi apology
SARAJEVO, Oct 7 (Reuter) - Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic on Friday demanded an apology from U.N. envoy Yasushi Akashi for a mistaken allegation that Moslem troops executed Bosnian Serb soldiers and mutilated their corpses.

Izetbegovic told a news conference that Akashi slandered Moslem-led Bosnian government forces by making the charge, based on a U.N. peacekeepers' report which was later withdrawn.

"Mr Akashi seriously slandered the Bosnia and Herzegovina army in his statement which then spread very quickly all over the world," Izetbegovic said.

U.N. spokesmen said on Friday further investigation showed there had been neither mutilations nor executions and the four were sentries killed silently at start of the attack.
08-Oct-94 11:58
Bosnian Serbs bury dead from sneak Moslem attack
By Kurt Schork
VJERCA, Bosnia, Oct 8 (Reuter) - Serb Orthodox priests intoned dirges in a mountain meadow on Saturday as Goran and Slavisca Mocevic were buried to the sound of distant artillery fire and the roar of NATO jets high above the clouds.

The brothers, both in their 30s, were killed along with 18 other Serb soldiers early on Thursday morning when Bosnian government commandos slipped behind Serb lines outside Sarajevo and attacked a command post.

Bosnian Serb authorities say the attack was a massacre and a war crime. But U.N. officials have retracted their original allegation that the Serb bodies showed signs of mutilation.

U.N. sources have told Reuters that the Bosnian Serb command post radioed a U.N. position on Bjelasnica at 5:30 a.m. (0430 gmt) on Thursday asking peacekeepers to investigate suspected government troop movements through the DMZ.

A U.N. patrol despatched to the area saw evidence of recent troop movement and returned to its base to warn the Serb command post but there was no answer on the communications link.

"By that time the BiH (government army) had already struck and the Serbs were dead," a U.N. source explained.
08-Oct-94 05:11
Sarajevo airport closed after planes hit
(Eds: Updates with airport closing)
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (Reuter) - Sarajevo airport was closed and flights by the U.N. aid agency halted Saturday after small arms fire hit two planes Friday, U.N. officials said.

"The airlift is suspended for today but we will review our options later in the day," said Kris Janowski, a spokesman for the Sarajevo office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The U.N. did not say which side fired Friday when one U.N. plane was hit in the tail and another in the cabin.