Serbian Planes Kill 19, wound 34, Bosnian forces shot down Serbian MIG fighter plane
By Chuck Sudetic
October 11, 1992.
ZAGREB, Croatia — At least 19 people were killed and 34 wounded in Serbian air attacks on the Bosnian town of Gradacac, less than 24 hours after the United Nations imposed a ban on military flights over Bosnia and Herzegovina, radio reports said.
Other civilians were hit in Serbian air strikes in Croatian-populated villages in northern Bosnia near Brcko, Sarajevo and Zagreb radios reported. They said Bosnian forces had shot down one Serbian MIG fighter.
A Western reporter in Brcko said he had heard aircraft in the area, and a second Western reporter said he had seen aircraft flying over the Serbian-held town of Banja Luka, the site of a major Yugoslav Army airfield controlled by Bosnian Serbs.
In a statement to a Serbian news agency, leaders of the Serbian forces fighting in Bosnia and Herzegovina denied that their aircraft had engaged in any attacks since the United Nations Security Council imposed a flight ban over Bosnia on Friday.
“False stories are being spread in order to provoke international forces into attacking Serbian aircraft,” the statement said.
Serbian Weaponry Stronger
The airborne arsenal of the Serbian forces dismembering Bosnia and Herzegovina is vastly superior to the weaponry of the ethnically mixed forces loyal to the Sarajevo Government, which has no warplanes and few anti-aircraft weapons.
A United Nations arms embargo has prevented Bosnia from acquiring arms to defend itself against the Serbs, who received all the weaponry the former Yugoslav Army had in Bosnia when it formally withdrew in May.
The Security Council resolution on the flight ban did not contain any provisions for immediate enforcement. It said United Nations observer teams stationed at airfields would monitor compliance.
“Don’t bet that enforcement won’t come,” a Western diplomat said. “The Serbs know full well what will happen.”
But a Bosnian official who asked to remain anonymous called the resolution a sham.
“The no-fly zone resolution is a disgrace,” the official said. “Here was an opportunity to do something.”
‘The West Doesn’t Mean It’
“The Serbs know very well that the West doesn’t mean it,” the official said, citing the inability of international negotiators so far to end the siege of Sarajevo and the forced expulsions of thousands of Bosniaks and Croats from their homes by Serbian forces.