Serbian Shelling Shatters Tranquility
By Samir Krilic
Times Daily, p.10A
17 October 1993.
The renewed military activity led to fears of an impending major attack, since artillery often is used to soften up targets for tanks and infantry.
The main Kosevo hospital reported seven dead and 40 wounded from the shelling, which began before dawn, but eased by evening.
Lt. Col. Bill Aikman, a spokesman for U.N. troops, described the shelling as the “heaviest for months.” The intensity of the barrage — U.N. monitors counted 540 projectiles hitting the city by midafternoon — caused the United Nations to cancel flights into the city for four hours.
U.N. monitors also reported that Serbs, who have besieged Sarajevo for 18 months, were redeploying armor and infantry in the high ground above the capital.
“There has been a whole series of movement of troops around the town,” Aikman said. “There (are) more tanks up there than normal.”
Sarajevo and most other front lines where Serbs are fighting Muslim-led government troops have been quiet for months, indicating a weariness of war and apparent Serb hope that the outgunned Bosniaks are ready to make peace.
But the Bosnian government has rejected the latest peace plan and is seeking other options. Aides to President Alija Izetbegovic said Saturday he has asked for new U.N. talks involving all Balkan nations to address all conflicts on the territory of former Yugoslavia.
Saturday’s attack may reflext Serb exasperation with the government’s refusal to accept the peace plan.
Renewed fighting also was reported in other regions.
Bosnian radio reported “one of the heaviest” infantry and artillery attacks on the norther towns of Maglaj and Tesanj since they were cut off by besieging Serbs in June.
Bosnian Croat troops were fighting alongside Serbs, the radio said.
In Zagreb, Croatia, Peter Kessler, a spokesman for the U.N. High commissioner for Refugees, said plans to send a convoy Saturday to the two towns about 75 miles north of Sarajevo had been scrapped. Aid officials were now hopping that convoys would reach residents there by midweek.
Two previous convoys turned back last week after a separate Red Cross convoy encountered a land mine.
About 150,000 mostly Muslim residents in the region have been forced to rely on air-dropped food and medicine for months.
Central and southern Bosnia, where Bosnian Croats and Muslim-led government troops are vying for territory unclaimed by the Serbs, remained in turmoil.
Bosnian radio reported a desperate situation among Bosniaks trapped in part of Vitez, with 80 percent of the homes destroyed. The Bosniaks have been without electricity or humanitarian aid during six months of Croat siege, the broadcast said.
In the town of Livno, hundreds of Muslim women and children were separated from the men on Wednesday and the two groups were trucked out in different directions by Croats, Aikman said.