Serbs Kill Bosniak Civilians, Block U.N. Efforts
By David Crary
1 March 1993.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Bosnian Serbs massacred civilians and blocked U.N. efforts to evacuate 1,500 sick and wounded people Tuesday as they overran a Muslim enclave in eastern Bosnia, U.N. officials said.
Serbs were “plundering, killing and burning,” said Lyndall Sachs, a U.N. spokeswoman. Serb tanks rumbled through the smouldering ruins of villages where American pilots had dropped thousands of meals the day before, she said.
Some food fell into Serb hands after about 10,000 people it was meant to feed fled into the icy mountains. Muslims trying to collect aid reportedly were picked off by snipers, said another U.N. spokesman.
The U.N. officials, basing their information on ham radio dispatches, said Serb fighters in the Cerska and neighboring Srebrenica area were killing women and children.
At U.N. peace talks in New York, meanwhile, Bosnia’s Muslims president called holding the negotiations “incompatible” with the Serb assault, although he did not pull out of the bogged-down discussions.
Serbs later proposed disputed areas of Bosnia be placed under temporary U.N. protection.
The push against Cerska — one of four pockets of Muslim resistance in rugged terrain close to the Drina River border with Serbia — began several weeks ago before Washington announced its airdrop plans.
But the final assault came Sunday, as the first pallets floated down. Serbs advanced against weakening resistance, presumably to ensure Muslims could not collect the aid and to strengthen their hand at U.N. peace talks.
“If only 10 percent of the reports being received from ham radio operators are true, a massacre is taking place,” said the officials of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
Bosnian radio reported 500 civilians killed and about 15 Bosnian Muslim villages set ablaze since the Serbian assault began Sunday.