This Week: Yugo Digest editor deploys to Bosnia.
7 Jan 96
Muslims and Croats in Mostar exchanged sniper and RPG fire across the city’s green line. Muslim officials urged NATO to take control of Mostar from the EU to avert further Muslim-Croat violence. EU administrator Koschnick rejected a demand by the Croatian mayor to divide the town, saying the division of Mostar would mean the failure of the Muslim-Croat federation in Bosnia. Koschnick threatened to step down unless the two foes showed greater readiness to cooperate. WEU personnel are investigating reports that Croat authorities have brought militarized police units into the city in violation of the peace agreement.
A French transport plane was hit by small-arms fire over Sarajevo.
Four more people were detained by Bosnian Serbs while crossing through Serb neighborhoods in Sarajevo.
Macedonian President Gligorov made his first public appearance since narrowly surviving an assassination attempt on October 3, 1995. He attended an Orthodox Christmas mass in Skopje.
8 Jan 96
Lt. General Walker, commander of IFOR land forces, warned that NATO troops in Bosnia lack the manpower to ensure the free movement of civilians across ethnic front lines. He was responding to charges by the Bosnian government that NATO has not fulfilled its duty to ensure the safe passage of civilians under the Dayton Peace Accord.
US Secretary of Defense Perry said the US would be willing to include US troops in a peacekeeping force in the Golan Heights if they are requested. Israeli Prime Minister Peres said that the US troops would act as a monitoring force similar to that the US has had in the Sinai Desert since 1979.
9 Jan 96
One civilian was killed and seven wounded when a street car was hit by an RPG in Sarajevo. The shot was fired from a Serb neighborhood. French troops returned fire. They also sent a patrol into the Serb area, but were unable to apprehend the miscreants who had blended back into the general population.
The town council of Kaposvar, Hungary, complained about traffic jams caused by IFOR units, increasing air pollution and damage to local roads.
Kaposvar and the air base at nearby Taszar serve as NATO’s forward logistics base. Also, numerous IFOR soldiers have been taken ill and are now in quarantine. US and Hungarian health experts denied that the troops have contracted measles, saying the soldiers picked up some kind of influenza virus on their way to Hungary.
US negotiator Holbrooke asked Serbian President Milosevic to allow the US to establish an official presence in Kosovo. (Kosovo is a mainly ethnic- Albanian area that the Serbs hold as the birthplace of their nation.) If permission is granted the office will be run by the United States Information Agency. Holbrooke stressed that the US was not supporting the Kosovar Albanians’ demand for independence. But he pointed out that “the oppression of the people there by the Serbs has been extremely bad.”
The UN Security Council passed a resolution demanding Croatia cease its human rights abuses in Krajina, the territory it liberated last fall. The resolution also accused Croatia of blocking the return of refugees, not bringing guilty parties to justice, not handing over indicted war criminals, and discriminating against the few remaining Serb civilians. The Council also demanded that Croatia restore Serb property rights and provide humanitarian aid for stranded Serb villagers. The resolution may not have been intended to affect Krajina, but to reassure Serbs in eastern Slavonia (a territory due to be returned to Croat control under terms of the Dayton Peace Accords.
The Yugo Digest was on hiatus between January and April, 1996, while I was in Bosnia. While en route to, living in and returning from Bosnia, I kept a daily journal. Where Yugo Digest gives a broad overview of events, my journal is a nitty-gritty daily account of one soldier’s experiences in that land of ancient hatreds.
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