Combat Abounds as Bosnia Enters Year Four of War
Lodi News-Sentinel, p.24
6 April 1995.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — On a day of summer-like sunshine, families of war victims placed flowers at graves Wednesday in informal ceremonies marking the three-year anniversary of Bosnia’s war.
On northern battlefronts, artillery exchanges between government and rebel Serb troops rumbled throughout the day. The Bosniak-led government has been gaining ground in the two mountainous combat zones — one near Tuzla, the other Travnik — since launching offensives last month.
In the capital, a civil leader was hit by sniper fire, not far from where a student became the first to die in the violence following Bosnia’s 1992 secession from Serb-dominated Yugoslavia.
Pope John Paul, marking the somber anniversary, called the war Europe’s worst tragedy since World War II. But Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic said his people should be ready to fight 10 years if necessary.
“The Serbs are not strong enough to exterminate us, and we are not strong enough to win the peace,” he told the French newspaper Le Monde.
U.N. military observers said the two sides fired nearly 1,500 artillery and mortar rounds Wednesday near Tuzla, in the northeast. The Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA said Serb forces repulsed a government attack.
The Sarajevo daily Oslobodjenje published a special section marking the anniversary, including a photograph and brief biography of the first victim, medical student Suada Dilberovic.
One of thousands of people who took to Sarajevo’s streets to support Bosnia’s nascent independence, she was hit by small arms fire on April 5, 1992, as Serb nationalists began forcibly opposing the republic’s secession from Serb-dominated Yugoslavia.
Among those laying flowers at Sarajevo graveyards were members of a cultural society founded in her honor. They and other mourners said they were there Wednesday because of the anniversary.
Near the bridge where Dilberovic was shot, a prominent member of Sarajevo’s pro-government Serb minority, Ljubomir Berberovic, was wounded in the leg by a sniper bullet Wednesday.
The shot, which appeared to come from Serb-held territory, hit Berberovic as he was walking along the main avenue now known as “Sniper Alley.”
Berberovic is a leader of the Serb Civil Council, which last month sent a delegation to Serbia proper to stress that there was a significant Serb community loyal to the Bosniak-led Bosnian government.
At least 200,000 people have been killed or disappeared since Bosnia’s war began.
The pope mentioned the war during his weekly general audience at the Vatican. “Three years have already passed and men still haven’t understood that the path of war leads only to death,” he said.