Cerska massacre, Serbs Cut Throats to Bosnian Muslim Victims
Serb Forces Massacre Bosniak Civilians
By Chuck Sudetic
4 March 1993
TUZLA, Bosnia-Herzegovina — After overrunning much of a Muslim enclave in eastern Bosnia, Serbian forces rained artillery shells today on thousands of Bosniaks Muslims trapped in the snow-covered region, United Nations officials here said.
The reports led the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, to send a message to the United Nations saying that, even based on the most conservative reports, the Bosnian Serbs were committing a massacre. She said most of the Muslim victims were found with their throats cut.
Attack Follows Airdrop
The shelling came a day after the United States Air Force tried for a second time in three nights to parachute aid into the enclave, around Cerska, about 20 miles from here. The enclave was once home to both Serbs and Bosniaks. Last spring the Serbs forced the Bosniaks from villages in the area, only to be pushed out themselves by a Muslim counteroffensive in December.
On Tuesday night, Serbian forces shelled the Bosniaks when they attempted to retrieve three bundles of American aid, an amateur radio operator in the area said.
The radio operator, monitored by United Nations forces here, said that four planes flew over the area just after 11 P.M. Tuesday and that three bundles of supplies fell on Muslim-controlled territory.
Shelled When Looking for Food
“When the people went to collect the food, they were shelled by the Serbs and there were many casualties,” the transcript of his broadcast said.
The United States called an emergency meeting of the Security Council to put pressure on the factions to end the fighting in Bosnia and bring the peace talks in New York to a successful conclusion.
Cerska’s defenses have reportedly collapsed, and residents were said to be fleeing while the remaining defenders regrouped around Srebrenica, a town at the eastern edge of the enclave.
Bosnian Government officials said the American airdrops had set off a chain reaction that had led to the Muslim defeat. They said it appeared that Bosnian troops defending the Cerska villages had left front-line positions in the hours after the airdrop on Sunday night in an attempt to reach the 1,100-pound pallets of food and medical supplies, and that Serbian troops had seized the opportunity.