Bosnian Serbs Vow to Curb Ethnic Attacks
Bosnian Serb leaders pledged Friday to prevent attacks on Muslims and confrontations with U.N. police following flare-ups involving Serbian police a day earlier, a U.S. envoy said.
John Kornblum, an assistant U.S. secretary of state, said he received the assurances after meeting with Bosnian Serb leader Biljana Plavsic a day after the incident involving American troops.
Bosnian Serb police trapped five unarmed U.N. police officers and three other U.N. employees in a building in Zvornik on Thursday after U.S. troops belonging to the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia detained more than 60 uniformed Serbs who had attacked Muslims trying to rebuild their nearby village.
Thursday’s confrontations were among the most serious since the end of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s war late last year and illustrated the intensity of ethnic hatreds just two weeks before the country’s first postwar general election.
“I stressed that incidents such as one you heard of yesterday simply cannot be repeated,” Kornblum told reporters in this Serb-controlled city in northwest Bosnia. “And we received assurances that steps will be taken to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Publicly, at least, Plavsic was unrepentant.
“It was an intrusion by armed Muslims on our territory,” she said of the Serb-Muslim clashes, in comments carried by the Bosnian Serb news agency, SRNA.
Muslim villagers said they had decided to go back to their community of Mahala, inside Serb-controlled territory, after seeing Bosnian Serb families returning to their old homes in Muslim-Croat federation territory.
Since Monday, about two dozen Muslim families, who fled Mahala in May 1992, have moved back.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization officials said the NATO troops confiscated more than two dozen weapons from the Bosnian Serb side.