U.N. Convoy Trapped By Mines On Return Trip
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ The convoy that brought the first U.N. relief shipment to besieged Gorazde was stopped Sunday by a minefield on its way back.
French U.N. troops stationed in Sarajevo were sent out Sunday in three armored personnel carriers with mine-clearing experts to try to free the convoy, the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees announced.
Serb and Bosnian media both reported heavy fighting around Gorazde on Saturday. Four children were wounded there when mortar shells struck as food was being distributed, Sarajevo radio said.
After several days of relative peace, Sarajevo radio said more than 150 mortar shells hit Sarajevo and its outskirts by nightfall Saturday.
The UNHCR on Saturday praised the apparent success of its first mission to Goradze, which is under in a four-month siege by Serb forces opposed to Bosnia’s independence. It said force might not be needed to deliver aid.
The U.N. Security Council on Thursday approved a resolution to use force as a last resort to ensure aid deliveries. Serb leaders declared they would not block aid shipments.
On the convoy’s journey out Saturday, it was delayed by Serb militias and caught twice in crossfire. Troops had to clear mines on a bridge to reach the Muslim town 30 miles east of Sarajevo, the capital.
The convoy of eight trucks, guarded by Ukrainian U.N. troops with three armored personnel carriers, spent the night outside Goradze and headed back toward Sarajevo on Sunday.
It was stopped about five miles south of Gorazde by a minefield, according to Doug Espeland, a UNHCR official.
Serb forces are fighting Bosnian Croats and Muslims and have captured two- thirds of Bosnia-Herzegovina since the republic voted for independence from Serbian-dominated Yugoslavia in February.