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New Wave of Evictions and Detentions of Muslims By Croats Reported

July 13, 1993

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ Croat militiamen in Mostar are detaining hundreds of Muslim men and evicting women, children and the elderly from their homes in a new surge of ethnic cleansing, a U.N. official said Tuesday.

The Sarajevo-based official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said reliable Croatian sources in the historic southwestern city reported house-by- house evictions Monday night of virtually all Muslim families still living on the mostly Croat side of the Neretva River.

The official said militiamen were seen shooting over the heads of those evicted, including a little girl.

Bosnian Croats have blocked U.N. and private relief groups from entering Mostar for more than a week, making it difficult to get information about the situation. The official blamed the new ethnic cleansing on the lack of U.N. personnel in the city.

He said as many as 6,000 Muslim men had been detained at the Rodac factory, a former helicopter plant, on Mostar’s outskirts. One group of 250 detainees had to share a single toilet, he said.

They reportedly receive tea and one slice of bread daily, sometimes augmented by a bowl of soup.

The U.N. official said there were now about 25,000 people, mostly Muslims, living on the east side of the Neretva, half of them arriving since May 9 after being forced out of their homes in other districts. He said the east bank was served by only two water spigots, both exposed to sniper fire.

Bosnian Croat militiamen at one point were allied with the Muslim-led government forces against Bosnian Serb troops. But the former allies have clashed throughout western and central Bosnia over the past few months as each side tries to consolidate territory.

Croats are now siding with their former Serb enemies against Muslims in many areas of Bosnia.

The civil war has left 138,000 people dead or missing and forced more than 2 million people - half of the republic’s prewar population - from their homes.

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