Dubrovnik Adjusts to Life Under Bombardment With AM-Yugoslavia, Bjt
DUBROVNIK, Croatia (AP) _ When Serbian forces resumed their shelling of this 1,000-year-old city last week, its Croatian residents seemed to take pride in the mere fact of still being here.
Eight months after the start of a siege on the medieval walled city, running water and electricity have been restored. Life is still occasionally jolting, but it could be worse, the inhabitants say.
″Compared with the bombardment last winter, we are in a good position. We have TV, electricity, water, radio - all the commodities,″ Zeljko Sikic, Dubrovnik’s executive council president, said with a smile Sunday.
Serb militias and federal troops shelled Dubrovnik intensely in November and December, destroying some of the ancient monuments that made Dubrovnik the biggest tourist attraction in Yugoslavia.
The attacks subsided when a cease-fire went into effect in the Croatian war on Jan. 3. In an apparent gesture of good will, the Serbs began lifting their siege of Dubrovnik last week.
But shelling resumed Friday, apparently to cover the Serb withdrawal toward the south.
The red tiled-roof of the Dominican monastery in the old town was hit. Shrapnel pierced a statue of St. Blaise, the city’s patron saint, sheering off a model of the city held in the statue’s left hand.
On Monday, eight mortar rounds landed in the water 100 yards from the thick wall surrounding Dubrovnik’s old town. Two hit inside the walls.
During the worst of last year’s bombardment, the only route into Dubrovnik was a two-day ferry trek south from Rijeka, Croatia.
The coastal highway has reopened in the past week, although the presence of Serb snipers necessitates a ferry ride for the last few miles.
Along the 35-mile stretch from Ston to Dubrovnik, the highway is cratered with shell damage. Graffitti proclaiming ″Only Unity Will Save the Serbs″ reminds advancing Croatian guardsmen of the previous tenants.
To the south of Dubrovnik, Serbs are fighting to hold the airport and the Prevlaka peninsula, which guards the entrance to the Bay of Kotor, a base of what’s left of the Serb-dominated Yugoslav fleet. Croatian forces have been advancing down the coast.
″We are fighting for our coast,″ said Stijepo Ivanisevic, a 43-year-old former ship engineer. Ivanisevic spoke Sunday as he helped ferry fresh Croatian guardsmen into Dubrovnik.
Some of Dubrovnik’s residents say the Croatian leadership in Zagreb has forgotten them.
But Sikic, the city manager, is more understanding.
″We depend very heavily on the work of our people in non-attack areas,″ he said, glancing at his office TV as Croatian tennis star Goran Ivanisevic competed in the Paris Open.
″You see, it’s someone’s duty to celebrate, someone’s duty to play,″ Sikic said. ″And my duty is to see life goes on here, to assure normal living conditions can be assured here, and I suppose we’ve succeeded.″