At least 11 Dead, 30 injured in Serb shelling of Bosnia soccer field
By MAUD S. BEELMAN
1 June 1993.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — At least 11 people were killed and 40 wounded today when two shells slammed into a crowd watching a soccer match in a Sarajevo suburb, hospital officials said.
The attack appeared to be one of the worst on civilians in the besieged Bosnian capital since the so-called “bread-line massacre” one year ago, when 16 people were killed in the center of Sarajevo while waiting in line for bread.
Sarajevo has been under relentless assault by Serbian rebel forces for nearly 14 months.
The war has left more than 138,000 people dead or missing since Bosnia-Herzegovina seceded from Yugoslavia in February 1992. Rebel Serbs have taken control of 70 percent of Bosnia, Croats about 20 percent and the Muslim-controlled government rules the remainder.
About 60 people were watching the soccer match in the government-held suburb of Dobrinja next to the Sarajevo airport when the shells struck today at 11 a.m.
An Associated Press photographer who visited Dobrinja hospital said a hospital official told him at least 11 people were killed, including four children. At least 40 were injured, the photographer was told.
“God knows how many wounded there were, I just fell but I saw my friend Sherbo dead, said Adnan Suljagic, 19, who had been playing soccer when the attack happened and suffered a leg wound.
The attack came as a relentless assault by Bosnian Serbs continued on one town and officials described as “appalling” deprivation one of the government’s last few pockets it holds in eastern Bosnia.
While government soldiers were digging in to consolidate a surprising gain south of Sarajevo, the news for the Muslim-led government from eastern Bosnia was bad:
U.N. officials said food supplies, crowding and sanitation in one U.N.-declared safe area, Srebrenica, were so bad that some refugees were risking a 50-mile walk across Serb-controlled territory to the government town of Tuzla.
U.N. officials said monitors were unable to reach a second enclave, Gorazde, attacked by Bosnian Serbs on Friday. Heavy casualties were reported in the fighting.
Serb-dominated Yugoslav President Dobrica Cosic was ousted early today in Belgrade by ultranationalists in parliament who perceived him as too moderate.
Cosic’s ouster makes clear that hard-line Serbs are becoming increasingly powerful in Serbia, and will support their brethren in Bosnia in continuing the war.
A top Bosnian army commander blamed the international community’s indecisiveness for the attack on Gorazde.
“The Serbian units are encouraged by the passivity of the world,” said Mustafa Hajrulahovic, commander of the army’s First Corps. “These events are a direct result of the decision on ‘safe zones.'”
The world community has been unable to force Bosnian Serbs through diplomacy to give up large swaths of territory they have captured and is unwilling to use military force. The United States, Britain, France, Spain and Russia instead settled on a plan to protect civilians in government-controlled safe areas.
The Bosnian government and many outside critics have charged that the plan amounts to ratifying Bosnian Serb military gains and establishing reservations for the Muslims.
Hajrulahovic said U.N. agreements struck with the Serbs to disarm two of the safe areas in eastern Bosnia, Srebrenica and Zepa, have resulted in government soldiers being disarmed. That allowed Serbs to concentrate their firepower on Gorazde.