Sarajevo Street Cars Run Again - With U.N. Escort
SARAJEVO Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ Sarajevo’s streetcar line resumed running today under U.N. armored escort and with unarmed peacekeepers seated by some windows.
The line had been shut down since Saturday when sniper fire killed one passenger and injured several others. The U.N. escort was requested by Sarajevo officials, who accused U.N. peacekeepers of not doing enough to stop sniper attacks.
The attacks have threatened the tenuous cease-fire in Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital held by the Muslim-led government but surrounded by Serbs. Fifteen passengers have been killed and 63 wounded since the tramway reopened in March, a few weeks after the cease-fire took effect.
U.N. peacekeepers at the scene of Saturday’s attack were shown on television looking at the injured, but neither aiding them nor firing back at the snipers.
Today three French and three Egyptian peacekeepers rode back and forth along the most dangerous stretch of so-called Sniper Alley without their usual helmets and flak jackets.
″The other people on board don’t have any protection, so why should we?″ said Cpl. Stephane Martinelli, one of the French soldiers.
The streetcars were accompanied by armored personnel carriers along the most dangerous section. No sniper fire was reported, and the besieged capital was mostly calm.
But heavy fighting was reported in the area of Doboj, a Serb-held city about 75 miles north of Sarajevo. U.N. monitors recorded at least 440 rounds of artillery exchanged Monday and early today in an attack on Bosnian Serb positions by forces of the Muslim-led Bosnian government. The Tanjug news agency in Yugoslavia said civilians in Serb-held Doboj were sent into shelters after the town was placed on ″red alert.″
Lt. Col. Tim Spicer, a U.N. spokesman, also reported heavy fighting near Mostar in the southwest and Bugojno to the west.
The Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, was quoted in the Belgrade newspaper Borba today as calling NATO the ″hired killer″ of the United Nations. NATO has conducted six air strikes against Bosnian Serb targets at the behest of the United Nations.
He also was quoted by the independent Belgrade news agency Fonet as saying Serbs would take control of the U.N.-patrolled demilitarized zone on Mount Igman, overlooking Sarajevo, if government forces do not withdraw.
But Spicer suggested that was not likely. He said the commander of U.N. peacekeepers in Bosnia, Lt. Gen. Sir Michael Rose, had ″a very successful″ meeting Monday with the Bosnian Serb commander, Lt. Gen. Ratko Mladic.
Spicer indicated the United Nations and Serbs reached an agreement on the demilitarized zone around Sarajevo, involving deployment of peacekeepers as a buffer force. But he gave no details.
Spicer said three Serb tanks were seen Monday passing through the 12-mile heavy-weapons exclusion zone around Sarajevo. He said the United Nations had lodged a protest.
The international airlift to Sarajevo, back in operation after a prolonged shutdown, was scheduled to bring 21 planeloads of food to the city today. But Kris Janowski, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said Serbs were refusing to provide clearance for eight food convoys trying to pass through Serb-controlled territory.
He also said Serbs had expelled ″on very short notice″ 21 Muslim villagers from Borati, a village near Rogatica east of Sarajevo.
Janowksi said the expulsion Monday left only a few hundred Muslims in the Rogatica area. About 12,000 lived there before ethnic purges began in 1992.
Bosnia’s minority Serbs launched the war in April 1992 when they rebelled against moves by the republic’s Muslims and Croats to secede from Yugoslavia. About 200,000 people are dead or missing.