Related topics

Evacuation Convoy Crosses Into Croatia

December 30, 1993

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ After more than a day on the road, buses packed with 900 refugees from Sarajevo today crossed the Bosnian-Croatian border, near the end of their journey.

U.N. officials said the refugees, primarily women, children and elderly people, likely would arrive at the Adriatic port of Split late today.

After months of delays, the refugees, about half of them Muslims, left Sarajevo on Tuesday aboard several buses. They spent the night in the Serb- held Sarajevo suburb of Lukavica and left for Split at 4 a.m. Wednesday.

They spent their second night on the road Wednesday near Croat-held Stolac in southwestern Bosnia. The convoy then crawled to the border with Croatia, where it got clearance this afternoon after waiting 3 1/2 hours.

The evacuation is a private effort planned nearly a year ago and assisted by the United Nations and the Red Cross. Another 71 evacuees reached safety in Serbia on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Bosnia, U.N. officials today reported two shooting incidents involving U.N. peacekeepers.

Squadron leader David Fillingham, a spokesman for the U.N. Bosnia command in Kiseljak west of Sarajevo, said that a Nordic battalion convoy came under mortar and machine-gun fire from Serb positions Tuesday and Wednesday.

It was carrying humanitarian aid on request of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees from the northern town of Tuzla to Teocak to the west.

″It was deliberate fire from Bosnian Serb army positions,″ Fillingham said. There were no casualties.

On Wednesday, U.N. peacekeeping spokesman Maj. Idesbald van Biesebroeck said soldiers of a British battalion had come under fire around Dubravica, near the central town of Vitez, while investigating allegations of atrocities and missing civilians. They were unhurt.

A relief convoy reached Mostar on Wednesday, carring 52 tons of foodstuffs each for the eastern and western sectors of the embattled city divided between Croat and Muslim sectors, UNHCR spokesman Ray Wilkinson said.

A 13-truck Russian convoy to the eastern Muslim enclave of Gorazde was stalled for a second day on the Serbian side of the border. But Red Cross convoys were being allowed to make weekly trips into Gorazde.

″At times it seems as if the whole humanitarian effort in Bosnia is suffering from an acute case of measles,″ Wilkinson told reporters. ″As soon as we clear up one area of problems, a new rash of problems breaks out somewhere else, with the result that the patient remains permanently off- balance and in a weakened state.″

Wilkinson said his relief agency was still delivering only about one-third of its monthly goal of 45,000-50,000 tons in Bosnia.

An estimated 200,000 people have been killed in Bosnia since fighting broke out in April 1992. Serbs revolted after Muslims and Croats, together a majority, declared independence from Serb-dominated Yugoslavia.

Update hourly