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BOSNEWS digest 429 -- 13/10/95

Bosnia-Herzegovina News Directory

From: Dzevat Omeragic <dzevat@ee.mcgill.ca>


DEVELOPMENTS ON THE DIPLOMATIC FRONT AND ON THE GROUND IN THE BALKANS:

The Bosnian Army liberated the strategic town of Sanski Most in northwestern Bosnia. On October 10, Croatian Army and Bosnian Croat forces captured Mrkonjic Grad, the last Serbian-held town on the strategic road linking Bihac with central Bosnia. Over the previous few days, the Bosnian Army halted Serbian advances on Bosanska Krupa and Kljuc west of Banja Luka and claimed to have gained ground near Serb-held Doboj in northern Bosnia and Trnovo south of Sarajevo.

After a delay of two days, the Bosnian government and Serbian forces agreed on October 11 to implement the cease-fire agreement brokered the week before by the U.S. The resumption of gas and electricity supplies to Sarajevo was a precondition for the Bosnia-wide cease-fire agreement. The agreement calls for an end to offensive military actions, including sniper fire. It provides for freedom of movement for non-military and UNPROFOR traffic between Sarajevo and Gorazde, and Belgrade and Gorazde. It also calls for Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia to hold talks in the U.S. on October 31. If successful, the talks will be followed by a peace conference in Paris. The cease-fire is to last 60 days or until peace negotiations are concluded, whichever is longer.

UNHCR officials reported on October 11 that Serbian forces continue to expel thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Croats from northwestern Bosnia. They fear that thousands more could be purged in the coming days. Officials said that the expulsions have been "extremely brutal" and that many men have been separated from their families. They have been unable to confirm reports that men have been taken to a concentration camp and many executed.

Graphic testimony continued on October 11 in U.N. War Crimes Tribunal hearings against Dragan Nikolic, who commanded a Serbian concentration camp at Susica in northeastern Bosnia. Camp survivors spoke of sadistic beatings, rapes, and random murders at the camp. Nikolic remains at large in Bosnia. Although the Tribunal cannot try persons in absentia, hearings can be held on whether to uphold an indictment and issue a standing international arrest warrant. Chief Prosecutor Richard Goldstone warned Monday that the UN's financial crisis threatened to seriously impair the Tribunal's activities.


BOSNIANS ADVANCE, SERBS THREAT AND SHELL CROATIA

TESTIMONY IN THE HAGUE, REHN IN SARAJEVO

SANSKI MOST AND MRKONJIC GRAD - LIBERATED

AKASHI REPLACED

B-H ARMY ENDED THE SIEGE OF GORAZDE ?

RUSSIAN DIPLOMACY - UNDER CRITICISM AND UNSATISFIED

THE LAST BOSNIAN KING BROUGHT TO CROATIA UNLAWFULLY

MASSACRE COMMITTED WITH ARMS PROVIDED FROM SERBIA


BOSNIANS ADVANCE, SERBS THREAT AND SHELL CROATIA

Sarajevo, Zagreb, Oct 1O, 1995 (Press TWRA) - B-H army encircled Mrkonjic Grad, UN reports. Serb Gen. Manojlo Milovanovic threatened that his forces would severely shell towns in Croatia if Croatian artillery continued backing Bosnian offensive on Mrkonjic Grad. This afternoon, general alert was sounded in Lipovljani, Novska and Okucani, the towns in Croatiawhile the alert in Djakovo and Zupanja has been in force since yesterday. UN released that Bosnian army had launched offensive towards Mt. Vis, south from Kalesija, a town east from Tuzla. After NATO strikes, about ten missiles were fired from that Serb stronghold on the basis of UNPROFOR Pakistani battalion without inflicting any casualties. UN states that the front lines have not changed at Bosanska Otoka and Bosanska Krupa, northeastern from Bihac where fighting continues today. UNMO has recorded 315 explosion near Doboj. After shelling Travnik twice with long range artillery, Serbs attacked B-H army position on Mt. Vlasic. HVO announced that Serbs provoked with occasional machine gun fire near Orasje.


TESTIMONY IN THE HAGUE, REHN IN SARAJEVO

The Hague, Oct 1O, 1995 (Press TWRA) - Once detainee in the Serb concentration camp Susica near Vlasenica, north-eastern Bosnia, Ibro Osmanovic testified today before the International Tribunal for Crimes in ex-Yugoslavia. Osmanovic confirmed that the camp guard Dragan Nikolic had beaten up two detainee to death in that camp. At the moment, Nikolic is in the Serb occupied part of B-H and the international wanted circular is expected to be sent for him soon. Sarajevo - A Special UN rapporteur for human rights in ex - Yugoslavia Elisabeth Rehn arrived today at Sarajevo and had talks with Bosnian president Izetbegovic and UNPROFOR Commander Gen. Sir R. Smith. Rehn expressed her wish to talk with the =20 representatives of Karadzic's Serbs who announced their cooperation with her as opposed to her predecessor T. Mazowiecky who was accused by Serbs as biased and who resigned as he held the fall of Srebrenica and Zepa to be unbearable international catastrophe regarding human rights and the UN credibility.=20 Izetbegovic who had cordial relations with Mazowiecky, demanded today from E. Rehn that the fate of several thousands people missing after Serb occupation of Srebrenica and Zepa should be urgently and thoroughly investigated by the UN. E. Rehn was a Finish defence minister when Finish prime minister to-be Maatio Ahtisarri and Jose Cutillero worked out the plan of cantonization of B-H called the Lisbon plan. In the interview for Croatian daily "Vecernji List", Mr Rehn said she looked forward to good cooperation with EU peace mediator to ex-Yugoslavia Bildt who she referred to as her friend.


SANSKI MOST AND MRKONJIC GRAD - LIBERATED

Kljuc, Oct 11, 1995 (Press TWRA) - Croatian army (HV) and Croatian Council of Defence (HVO) liberated Mrkonjic Grad with its wider surroundings late yesterday afternoon. Croatian TV reports that wider area of the river Vrbas valley is within reach of Croatian long range artillery including the military targets in and around Banjaluka. Serb long range artillery has continued targeting towns in Craotia. In the latest assaults on Okucani 3 persons were wounded, one seriously. Material damage inflicted is great. Late last night, the B-H army 5th Corps and MUP (B-H Ministry of the Interior) liberated Sanski Most and its surroundings, Radio B-H reports. The occupier's forces suffered large losses and plenty of arms and military equipment were captured. That success followed permit of HV and HVO given to B-H army 7th Corps for passage towards Kljuc. So, the 7th Corps was defending Kljuc while the 5th Corps launched its actions towards Sanski Most. A part of the 7th Corps units is directed towards Sanski Most while the 5th Corps is moving in two directions: via Ljubija to Prijedor and Bosanski Novi after repelling Serb offensive towards Bosanska Otoka meaning to jeopardize Bosanska Krupa. Remaining part of the 7th Corps repulsed Serb attacks on Mt. Vlasic and advanced to the river Ugar where HV arrived. The assault towards Skender Vakuf and Kotor Vvaros is likely to be launched.


AKASHI REPLACED

New York Oct 11, 1995 (Press TWRA) - The UN Secr. General B. Ghali decided to replace his envoy to ex-Yugoslavia the Japanese Yasushi Akashi at his own demand, who performed the duty as the Norwegian Th. Stoltenberg's successor. Till Akashi's successor is appointed, the UN Secr. General's assistant for peace keeping operations Kofi Annan (Ghana) will take his place. =20 Sarajevo - B-H govt. supported the UN announcement on Akashi's replacement. B-H govt. refused any contact with Akashi this year due to his bias bringing the same decision in case of Stoltenberg, the appointed Ghali's envoy for B-H.


B-H ARMY ENDED THE SIEGE OF GORAZDE ?

Sarajevo, Oct 11, 1995 (Press TWRA) - In the past few days B-H army has liberated 1OO sq km of the territory near the town of Trnovo and the remaining part of Mt. Treskavica which was under Serb occupation, Radio B-H reports. The B-H army 1st Corps is at the access to Trnovo. Gorazde is closer now for 1O km. The gain includes large quantities of arms captured from two Karadzic's corpses - Romanija and Herzegovina corpses. Only 4 soldiers in Serb paramilitary elite unit of "Beli Vukovi" survived. Unofficial sources inform on joining the B-H army 81st division from Gorazde with the rest of the 1st Corps.


RUSSIAN DIPLOMACY - UNDER CRITICISM AND UNSATISFIED

Moscow, Oct 11, 1995 (Press TWRA) - "We are concerned about this week's NATO air strikes on Serb positions near Tuzla. We are also concerned with the attempt of postponing fire-cessation in B-H. On Oct 16 and 17, Contact group will held the meeting in Moscow to insist on global settlement for ex-Yugoslavia, agreement on structure of the peace keeping forces to be deployed, lifting sanctions on FR Yugoslavia and demarcation maps", said the spokesman of Russian Federation Foreign Ministry Grigori Karasin. As for delay in providing gas and electricity for Bosnian capital being the first reason for postponing the cease fire enforcement, Moscow claims that the reasons are of technical nature. Budapest, from which the gas is redirected towards Serbia and Bosnia states that delegates from Belgrade, Sarajevo and Moscow could not agree on the price for the gas and its distribution to B-H and "FR Yugoslavia". An official of the "Gasprom", Russian firm for gas supply said that final details on paying gas would be agreed today. Croatian TV reported that the starting amount was USD 1OO million. At the meeting in Kremlj, Russian president Yeltsin criticised Russian diplomacy, particularly its foreign minister A. Kozirev. Kozirev defended himself from the criticism of his policy as not being aggressive by claiming that Russian position was partly conditioned by unfavourable economic and general situation in the state. Kozirev's replacement is not ruled out although such Yeltsin's decision two months before the elections is not likely to be made.


THE LAST BOSNIAN KING BROUGHT TO CROATIA UNLAWFULLY

Sarajevo, Oct 11, 1995 (Press TWRA) - Director of the State Museum in Sarajevo Prof. Enver Imamovic sent a demand to the B-H Foreign Ministry to present a demarche to Croatian govt. due to illegal replacement of Bosnian King's remains to another state to be allegedly restored and conserved. Namely, on Oct 1O, Croatian side transported the remains of the last Bosnian King Stjepan Tomasevic, the property of St. Franciscan monastery, to the Republic of Croatia. Media in Croatia refer to S. Tomasevic as a King of "Croat blood, origin and language".


MASSACRE COMMITTED WITH ARMS PROVIDED FROM SERBIA

Sarajevo, Oct 11, 1995 (Press TWRA) - An official of the B-H HQ Ferid Buljubasic said at the press conference that the so-called FR Yugoslavia actively supported Karadzic's Serbs to regain the lost territories and prevent further advances of B-H army. Belgrade has continued providing ammunition, equipment, manpower and arms for the rest of the occupied territories in B-H. From Serbia recently arrived multiple rocket launchers of the "Orkan" type deployed in this week's attacks on Zivinice causing a large number of casualties among civilians. /end/ A.S.


* Bosnian Army liberated Bosanski Novi?

* Cease-Fire

* NATO approved Bosnia peace force plan

* U.N. peackeeping chief to head Yugoslavia operation

* German 3-5,000 solders in Bosnia as part of NATO peace-keeping force

* French general Jean Cot calls for end of NATO

* FOREIGN PRESS BUREAU DAILY BULLETIN


After capturing the town of Sanski Most, the Bosnian army's 5th Corps based in Bihac, liberated Bosanski Novi on Bosnia's northern border with Croatia The Bosnian Army is reportedly still advancing toward Prijedor, in northwest Bosnia.

The 5th Corps said that in the fall of Sanski Most "all the lines of defense of Mladic's obedient followers have broken down." "They have suffered huge losses in both men and material, Following the liberation of this key Muslim town our army's soldiers have continued their liberation drive deep into the temporarily occupied territories." Around 15,000 Serbs have fled the area, according to the reporter, while the Bosnian Serb army commission for the exchange of prisoners reported that 3,200 Serb soldiers were missing, captured or killed in the Bosnian and Croatian Army offensives. In Banja Luka the separatist Bosnian Serb army headquarters called for a last stand to defend the Serb-held towns of Prijedor and Sanski Most, and connected areas, radio Banja Luka said. It said the Manjaca hill, a key defensive position for Banja Luka, was being shelled by multiple rocket launchers. The road to Banja Luka about 30 miles to the east was jammed with refugees, obstructing military supplies to Serb forces in the Sanski Most area.

The United Nations said that BH Army also launched a strong offensive on Mount Vis, in northeastern Bosnia, and was pressing south of Sarajevo, trying to link up with Gorazde in the east. Aid officials said Serbs in northwest Bosnia were separating draft-age Muslim and Croat men from families being expelled, and there were alarming reports of summary executions and rapes. Aid officials predicted that even the cease-fire would not stop the expulsions. U.N. spokesman Kris Janowski said: "We essentially expect that, within the next two weeks, all minorities will be expelled from the Banja Luka region."


Bosnia's warring parties agreed Wednesday to halt their military activities for 60 days, as of Wednesday midnight. Antonio Pedauye, the United Nations' chief civilian official for Bosnia said: "All conditions have been met, and we have the security that tonight we will have a cease-fire." Bosnian minister, Hasan Muratovic said: "I hope that this is the last day of this war." President Alija Izetbegovic said that Bosnian army "will cease all military activities except defensive ones as of midnight tonight." Separatist Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, said his side had met all conditions for the cease-fire but reserved the right to retaliate against "vulnerable enemy targets" for any cease-fire violations. That meant Serbs could respond by shelling cities. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said in Helsinki, Finland that the war could be settled in weeks. "It's quite realistic to speak of achieving a political settlement in a matter of probably one month."


NATO approved on Wednesday a plan to send up to 60,000 troops into Bosnia to enforce any peace that emerges from a planned ceasefire. An alliance source said: "It is a concept of operations. It is not a complete plan down to the finest details but a general framework." "The military will recommend a robust approach. The temptation is to send in a lot of troops quickly on the grounds that it may cost less in the long run than some sort of creeping incremental approach." "Three of the five main points of entry in the plan are Zagreb, Split and Ploce in Croatia. At least one of the others is through Serbia." Upon acceptance, General George Joulwan, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, will formally approach contributing countries -- including non-NATO members and even Russia -- for specific commitments of troops.


A Ghanian diplomat Kofi Annan will temporarily replace Japanese diplomat Yasushi Akashi as the civilian head of the U.N. operation in the Balkans. His appointment is until early 1996, because he is expected to oversee the transition from the current U.N. operation in Bosnia to a NATO-led force to help implement a peace settlement. American U.N. ambassador Madeleine Albright, welcomed Annan's appointment. A U.S. spokesman said: "Ambassador Albright admires Kofi Annan for his work in the peacekeeping department and she believes his assignment will improve the prospects for effective coordination among the United Nations, the United States and NATO in the region."


Morning after cease-fire: More guns, but mostly peace - Refugee Update

France Will Send More troops If Necessary


Thu, 12 Oct 95 SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina Morning after cease-fire: More guns, but mostly peace

After a 48-hour delay, the U.S.-brokered cease-fire went into effect early Thursday morning. Residents of Sarajevo celebrated a long awaited cease-fire Thursday with volleys of gunfire. In northwest Bosnia, government troops claim Serb forces launched a powerful effort Thursday morning to reclaim the town of Sanski Most, which they had lost the day before. "The aggressor's activities have intensified since the early morning hours, especially on the Sanski Most section of the front line, where the enemy are trying to break the defense lines with all their forces," read a statement from the Bosnian government 5th Corps. Speaking in Vienna, Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic says those attacks are endangering the new ceasefire. If they do not stop, he says the Bosnian Army will have to respond.

The UN cannot confirm who controls Sanski Most or whether fighting for the town continues.

Nationalist Serbs also reported sporadic gunfire from Bosnian government forces on northern Bosnia's Vucja Mountain, across battle lines in southern Bosnia, and into areas of Sarajevo that are under controll of nationalist Serbs..

Only two hours after the cease-fire deadline, a rocket slammed into a high-rise apartment building in the capital city. Although some rooms were wrecked, no one was injured. U.N. spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Vernon said that it is "militarily unrealistic to expect that any two armies along a 1,000 kilometer confrontation line are going to be able to disengage themselves within a few hours."


Thu, 12 Oct 95 SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina Meanwhile...

Meanwhile, some familiar problems, such as restrictions on the delivery of humanitarian aid, are already reappearing. The UN refugee agency has not been able to get an overland relief convoy to Gorazde. The road is mined and blocked by a nationalist Ser b checkpoint. A convoy of French peace-keepers is scheduled to go there on Thursday morning.

There are other, very serious disagreements between the sides over territory, refugees, and constitutional principles. Richard Holbrooke, the American negotiator who has led the diplomatic efforts that have culminated in this cease-fire, has warned that finding solutions to those problems will be very difficult, but with only sixty days before the cease-fire expires at l east some progress towards resolving those disagreements must be made quickly if the guns are to remain silent. He added that "this is a bedraggled, end-of-the-road military force in Bosnia. Unless the yugoslav army of Serbia itself came in to support the nationalist Bosnian Serbs this is a manageable military problem. Secretary Perry says an accord in the Bosnian conflict will give the peacekeepers a clear mandate. That mandate according to him should be "first of all, to enforce the separation (of forces), to enforce the boundaries agreed upon and to enforce the cease-fire. We will have a very sizeable military force there to do that." Mr. Perry remains confident a skeptical Congress will approve funding for US participation of up to 20-thousand troops for an operation he thinks will last about one year.


Thu, 12 Oct 95 SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina Refugee Update

During the past month, the refugee population in Bosnia has swelled by nearly 200-thousand, most of them Serbs who have fled advances by Bosnian Government and Croatian forces.

The ceasefire is expected to have little, if any, effect on the nationalist Serbs' ethnic-cleansing campaign in Northern Bosnia. Thousands fo Muslims and ethnic Croats are likely to be brutally forced out of "Serb" territory until the ethnic cleansing is completed. The UN High Commissioner For Refugees reports that about six-thousand Bosnian Muslims have now crossed into Government-held territory during the past week, after being expelled from their homes in towns and villages near the nationalist Serb stronghold o f Banja Luka. UNHCR officials say the numbers are continuing to rise in what could well mark the final chapter in a three year old nationalist Serb campaign to rid the north of all Muslims and Croats. UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond says there are few men among these latest refugees. He said draft age males are being kept behind by local Serb authorities. Mr. Redmond said UNHCR is extremely concerned about the fate of the detainees, especially in light of reports that nationalist Serbs have re-opened an infamous prison camp near the town of Prijedor. "Some of the displaced people who have come across to Government-held territory have told UNHCR interviewers that draft-age men and professionals had been taken away by local authorities and the Arkan group to Keraterm, which is close to Prijedor and is a rather notorious place because it was also used in the summer of 1992 as one of the so-called concentration camps." Nationalist Serb leaders have consistently denied UN and Red Cross officials access to areas where ethnic cleansing operations have been carried out. But now, the relief agencies are providing support for Serb refugees from those same areas. Mr. Redmon d says the contradiction is obvious, but adds that UNHCR has a mandate to assist refugees regardless of the circumstances, and will not use humanitarian aid as leverage with one side or the other.


Thu, 12 Oct 95 PARIS, France France Will Send More troops If Necessary

French Defense Minister Charles Millon says France is willing to add to the 74-hundred troops it already has in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. But he told the daily newspaper "Liberation", he hopes the extra troops will not be necessary. Mr. Millon said the final size of of France's contribution, will depend on conditions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He added France can send more troops if the force has to impose peace by military strength. Existing troop levels should be enough if the force just has to police the truce agreements. The French Minister said he wants to see a high-level UN representative take charge of the operation. He did not explain what sort of personality should be given the task. One of the problems facing the new peace force will be to reconcile the use of troops from Russia and Muslim countries under a unified NATO command. Mr Millon Said France has proposed ways of allowing other countries to participate in a NATO force while s till remaining under the control of their national commands.


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