At least 19 Killed in Wave of Serbian Terror in Northern Bosnia
1 April 1994
SARAJEV0, Bosnia-Herzegovina — At least 17 Bosniaks and 2 Croats have been murdered in a new wave of terror in a Serb-held area of northern Bosnia, a U.N. aid official said Friday.
Peter Kessler, spokesman at the U.N. relief office in Zagreb, Croatia, said grenades were lobbed into homes of many of the victims, who were then robbed and executed. The killings occurred around Prijedor, a town 110 miles north-west of Sarajevo near the Serb military stronghold of Banja Luka.
Kessler said U.N. workers who reached Prijedor on Friday found the town “very tense’ after the killings, which took place over the previous several days.
“Apparently, these attacks are going forward with permission or even military assistance of the Bosnian Serb militia,” he said.
He said there were rumors the killings were retaliation for the deaths at a nearby front line of three Serb soldiers, whose bodies were taken to Prijedor.
The murders followed a grim pattern of using terror and murder to scare off rival ethnic groups in Bosnia’s 2-year-old war. All three warring factions have been accused of the practice, but Serbs have been blamed for the worst excesses.
Kessler said a “tremendous number” of non-Serbs had swamped the U.N. staff in Banja LUka seeking protection. But the United Nations and Red Cross can arrange only limited numbers of evacuations because of problems protecting refugees and finding hosts to accept them.
Elsewhere, fighting intensified around Gorazde, an enclave 35 miles southeast of Sarajevo that is held by troops of Bosnia’ Muslim-led government.
A U.N. spokesman, Maj. Rob Annink, said U.N. observers in Gorazde reported four civilians killed and 25 wounded Friday. Shelling of the town eased, but tank fire and infantry clashes intensified, he said.
Government radio said President Alija Izetbgovic had written a letter to President Clinton asking for “immediate action” to protect Gorazde.