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Three Spanish Peace Monitors, Two Others Killed Near Sarajevo

August 31, 1995

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ Three Spanish peace monitors and two other people were killed near Sarajevo, European officials said Wednesday. Bosnian Serb radio claimed they died in NATO airstrikes, but the officials said they couldn’t confirm that.

The five people have been missing since Monday, said EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek.

A Spanish spokesman, Miguel de Santiago, said the five died Wednesday morning, but van den Broek said he couldn’t rule out the possibility they were taken hostage and killed Monday by Serb rebels.

``I don’t think at the present time ... any possibility can be excluded,″ Van den Broek said. He said also said how their bodies ``got to the place where they were found″ was unclear.

Among the dead were Fernando Sanchez Rau, the chief EU peace monitor in former Yugoslavia; Gen. Jose-Luis Garcia Esponeda and Maj. Luis Zenon Quintana, said Miguel de Santiago, a Spanish government spokesman.

``They died very close to Sarajevo this morning,″ de Santiago said. He had no other details.

He wouldn’t identify the other two victims. When they left the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, the Spaniards were travelling with Irishman Jim Fitzgibbon and Peter Schoonenwolf of the Netherlands.

Rau spoke to Associated Press Television on Monday before leaving Dubrovnik. Asked what he would say to Serb leaders in Bosnia, he said, ``We will tell them that there’s a possibility to reach a peaceful solution, but it should be done very urgently and very sincerely.″

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