|Click Here to go back to the M48 Sniper rifle website||News reports and recollections concerning Snipers, Sniper rifles, and tactics during the Bosnian Civil War|
July 3, 1992, From Rec.guns newsgroup post
With the discussion that recurs routinely about the military
relevance of civilian arms and shooting skills, the following
may be of interest. It is condensed from an AP report
published in my local paper today ("Canberra Times", 2 July 92),
so the same article has probably appeared in many newspapers.
"Arrow" has lost track of the number of men she has killed.
But the only woman on an elite Bosnian sniper team says she finds
it difficult to pull the trigger, to deal with seeing death through
a telescopic sight....
Her target must be in uniform and carrying a gun. While most of her
targets were snipers, she said sometimes she was asked to eliminate a
machinegun nest or lay down covering fire for advancing Bosnian
Arrow said that as a policeman's daughter, she grew up accustomed to
guns and picked up target shooting as a hobby. Before war changed
her plans, she had hoped to win a spot on the national shooting team.
"On the first day of the war about 10 of us were walking, singing,
marching to join a group of demonstrators across the bridge at
Parliament," she said.
"Then from behind a building this man jumped out, fully armed, and
began to shoot. I couldn't believe a man could jump out and shoot
at people just walking and singing."
Arrow said she immediately volunteered to help defend the city, asking
to be a sniper because of her skills.
"I used to be all alone in silence with a paper target," she said.
"Now sometimes I'm in a noisy place with a living target before me.
It's not easy to pull the trigger.
"But the way I look at it is, if I do not pull the trigger, the
target will pull his trigger, and maybe he'll kill a child or
somebody standing in line for bread.... Every time I see a target
and hit it, I don't have the feeling I killed a man. I have the
feeling I saved somebody."
The accompanying photograph shows "Arrow" holding a bolt-action
hunting rifle with a 'scope sight.
There are three points that I'd emphasise from this report:
1. "Arrow" is using a non-military rifle (a hunting rifle) for a
2. She grew up in an environment that gave her familiarity with guns,
although this must have been somewhat of a rarity in the old
3. She developed her shooting skills, which are _now_ seen to have
a military use, through civilian sport.
Oh yes, one more thing, although it's not relevant to the above points -
"Arrow" is an ethnic Serb fighting to defend Sarajevo against the Serbian
July 19, 1992, Croatia Monitor, by: CroInfo Bureau, Zagreb
Horror not ended in Sarajevo Despite the opening of this city's airport
and the near cessation of murderous artillery fire from surrounding
hills, Sarajevo is still in the grip of war. There was a macabre
demonstration of this at an old Jewish Cemetery that sits on a hillside
near the city center.
A UN peace-keeping convoy traveled to the cemetery with local
medical workers to pick up the rotting remains of seven Slavic
Muslims-six dead militiamen and a civilian woman who had been shot
there by Serb gunman two weeks ago and left for dead.
Since then, the parents of the seven have been able to watch
the bodies decompose from the upper floors of nearby buildings. UN
officials said they first received a request to retrieve the seven when
they appeared to be still alive and in urgent need of medical care, but
efforts to do so were blocked by encircling Serbs.
Later attempts by the parents to get permission from Serb
forces to retrieve the bodies also failed, and today's convoy effort
went forward without Serb approval.
Only four of the bodies could be removed before Serb sniper
fire forced the medical workers and the UN troops to leave the
cemetery. Washington Post
August 13, 1992, BELGRADE (UPI), U.N. troops evacuate 300 from war-torn Sarajevo
The U.N. Protection Force evacuated an estimated 300
Muslim Slav and Croatian women and children from war-torn Sarajevo, but
the Muslim Slav-led government of Bosnia-Hercegovina complained it was
not a party to the agreement.
Also Wednesday, sporadic artillery exchanges and clashes between
Sarajevo's predominantly Muslim Slav defenders and encircling guerrillas
of the Yugoslav army-armed Serbian Democratic Party left at least three
people dead and 11 wounded since Tuesday, Sarajevo Radio reported.
A producer for ABC News, David Kaplan, was killed Thursday in
Sarajevo by sniper fire.
ABC newsman Sam Donaldson, in Sarajevo, said in a telephone interview
with ABC News in New York the TV crew arrived at t he Sarajevo airport
and boarded two vehicles.
``David was in a vehicle that did not have armor plating,'' Donaldson
Donaldson said Kaplan was killed by a single shot from a rifle.
``It came though the thin skin of the vehicle. It hit David in the
back, it came out the lower abdomen. He was rushed to the hospital...The
doctors put him right on the operating table. They tell me that he had
lost so much blood, the high velocity bullet had done so much damage
that there really wasn't much of a chance. They worked for about two
hours, but finally he died.''
October, 1992, New York Times
IN THE ZOO'S HOUSE ONE PITTIFUL BEAR
Sarajevo The animals house is almost silent now except for
volleys of automatic rifle fire directed toward it. Gone all
the roars of the cage lions and leopards etc,gone too is the
lone zoo keeper who risked his life to take food to them.
The struggle all but lost in the zoo. Only one animal
remains alive a black female bear she is mangy perhaps.
lf her weight when the ordeal started. She bearly has
strenght to stand up. " Many of us are dead and almost all
of us are hungry but I feel more sorry for the animals than
for the people" says Adem Hodzic, a 32 year old taxi driver
who runs every second or three across 150 yards of grassy
space that seperates the animal house from sand bagged
militia head quarters and other volunteers guarding the
city's northern perimeter. He says that people made this war
but animals have nothing to do with it. One zoo keeper was
killed while the other was wounded with a sniper fire trying
to keep up the feeding , A third continued the deadly
mission until august entering zoo only at night when there
was no moon but after repeated fussilades from Serbian
positions. Only 100 yards from the animal house he also gave
Now there is only M.r hodzic and Suad Osmanovic, also 32
a bank teller who turned in to a solder. The two men kept
the bear alive and the last of the lions until she too died
two weeks ago. offered no reply, "People have people to look
after them but the animals have only us" "they can not
protect themselves or that puts us to a special position to
offer the bear just a bread that we eat.
The bravery of Mr Hodzic and Osmanovic is achieved
by the brave fire fighters of Sarajevo Kenan Slinic the
chief of Sarajevo fire department. Fire figters have been a
favorite target of Serbian gunners 7 have been killed and 36
wounded while trying to extinguish fires. This city is in
the process of dying said Kenan Slinic. When the Serbian
Forces cut down the electricity to the city fire squads have
their own generators to pump water but with limited supplies
of diesel fuel. "We must do every thing to save our city as
February, 1993, Talk.politics.guns newsgroup post about New York Times article
I nearly broke both ears grinning a couple of weekends ago while reading
a newspaper article (NYT?) about Bosnia. Seems that *many* of the Bosnian
sniper teams are entirely women. Seems they're *darn* good at it. The
one that really gave me a boost: one of the women being interviewed said
(roughly) "Of course it's sad; we are women, we should be nurturing and
caring. On the other hand, this is the best thing to happen for women
as a group in Bosnia ever. They're crazy if they think we're going back
to submissiveness and the kitchen after this." Accompanying was a picture
of a parka-clad, grinning early-30's woman standing amid some rubble holding
a wicked-looking scoped rifle. I don't think she'll be turning in her rifle....
March, 1993, NBC
Had a story on the
arms factories in Sarejevo showing them build grenades, mortars and
rounds, some sort of sheetmetal automatic rifle and something which one builder
(an American who went to his "home land" to help) called a KLR. He said it was
a sniper rifle.
May 22, 1993, Belgrade, TANJUG
A general alert is still in force in Ilidza because of intensive
moslem sniper activity.
August 10, 1993, post from rec.guns newsgroup
Last Wednesday the BBC carried a report from Bosnia in which, to quote
the reporter, stated that "British forces have been caught in crossfire
many times, but yesterday evening [a week ago today] a sentry position
at the British camp came under direct fire. The source of the fire,
believed to be a Muslim position was identified. A British marksman was
called forward. He fired one rifle round hitting, it is believed
killing, his target."
The British Army does not to my knowledge use the term "marksman"
(although the RAF does). The British Army uses the term "sniper" to
mean a qualified specialist (the RAF also uses the term "sniper" with
the same semantics whereas an RAF marksman is merely someone who shoots
well). I presume that the reporter was using the term "marksman" to
distinguish a qualified Army sniper from the unqualified
Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian gunmen that the press has hitherto described
as snipers when they are mostly "just" riflemen laying down harrassing
Since the sentry will have been armed with an SA-80 and the "marksman"
was called forward, I presume he was a sniper proper using the L96
recently discussed here.
October 9, 1993, FOREIGN PRESS BUREAU ZAGREB DAILY BULLETIN
Following a peaceful week, Posavski Podgajci was targeted once again yesterday evening from Bosnian territory. There were no casualties but some material damage was inflicted. The village has been put on general alert. This is the second attack by Serbs from Bosnian territory on this village since the beginning of October. According to information supplied by the Slavonski Brod police, yesterday a Serbian sniper on the Bosnian side of the River Sava, killed an as yet unidentified truck driver with a Derven.
November 26th, 1993, FOREIGN PRESS BUREAU ZAGREB DAILY BULLETIN
GRADACAC, BOSNIA HERCEGOVINA According to the Gradacac informa-
tion center, during the last 24 hours on the Gradacac frontline
it has been relatively quiet. However, Serbian units have been
active with sniper fire along the HVO defence lines. Yesterday
afternoon Serbian forces wounded two firemen. Serb forces in an
attempt to provoke a conflict fired with infantry rifles along
the entire defence line, without any HVO response.
December 19, 1993, UPI, Reuter, Source Winnipeg Free Press
Dr. Barbara Smith, an American psychologist working with the
International Rescue Committee (IRC) was standing near the Holiday Inn
hotel Saturday morning when she heard a shot and saw the sanitation
worker lying on the ground, blood seeping from his chest. A four-man
French military escort from the U.N. Protection Force was assigned to
escort sanitation workers trying to clean up one of the countless garbage
heaps in an area often targeted by Bosnian Serb snipers.
A press release by the IRC said: ``After the man was shot, the
UNPROFOR escort left the area. According to people who witnessed the
shooting, the UNPROFOR escort refused to drive the wounded man to a
An IRC driver arrived a few minutes later and took the man to a
nearby hospital. The U.N. military said incident is under investigation.
French U.N. troops in Sarajevo have been criticized before, including
earlier this year when acting Bosnian Prime Minister Hakija Turajlic was
shot by a Bosnian Serb soldier while riding in a French armored vehicle
from Sarajevo airport through a Serb-controlled checkpoint to the city
center. In that case, a French officer opened the armored vehicle's door for
a Serbian inspection, and left the door open, even though the U.N. later
acknowledged it had no obligation to open the armored vehicle at the
British and Canadian troops are routinely cited for moving into exposed
positions to protect vulnerable civilians. Two weeks ago, a Spanish patrol
in east Mostar laid down a screen of smoke grenades and rushed two teams
of stretcher-earers up the street to rescue the women caught and wounded
under snipers fire.
January 5, 1994, UPI, Reuter, RFE/RL
"The international community wants us to negotiate in good faith at
gunpoint." - Haris Silajdzic
A French peacekeeper shot dead a Bosnian Serb sniper in Sarajevo on
December 25 after the Serb fired at his commander, a French newspaper
Ouest reported on Wednesday. It was the first time French U.N. soldiers
in Sarajevo had killed a sniper. The reported quoted unnamed peacekeeper
as saying he shot the sniper at a distance of 630 metres (yards) with a
French army markman's rifle equipped with telescopic sights, after the
sniper had twice fired at a French lieutenant.
Ouest-France quoted the French commander in Sarajevo, Colonel Tracqui
(no first name), as saying: "It was a first. We had fired in the past at
illspotted, unidentified targets. This time we know a man died."
"After many provocations, this was our way of saying we were fed up,"
General Cot said the U.N. forces aimed ``to make the cowards think twice''
by responding to sniper fire. ``You understand this was an example of
self-defense,'' General Cot told France-Info radio. Giscard d'Estaing,
who was in Sarajevo at the time incident occurred said: ``It was a
response to shots fired by isolated snipers who with rifles equipped with
sights fire either on our facilities or on civilians. This response is quite
``People are made to fight on the ground and then there are very nice
negotiations around an international table to pocket the results of
fighting on the ground,'' Giscard d'Estaing said. ``We must stop that.''
He also suggested that European Union should not deal with the leaders of
the three warring parties until the shelling of the Bosnia capital stopped.
Anyone who ordered, directly or indirectly, the bombardment of Sarajevo
should be accused of war crimes, he said.
He said Sarajevo residents acclaimed the soldier, and the Belgian commander
of U.N. forces in Bosnia, Lieutenant-General Francis Briquemont, sent a
cable of congratulations.
The killing was kept secret to avoid retaliation from Bosnian Serbs.
January 5, 1994, UPI
Government officials in Sarajevo Tuesday said the 20-month-old war in
Bosnia-Herzegovina had claimed 141,605 dead and some 160,000 wounded by
the end of 1993. The figures mean that some 6.5 percent of the pre-war
population of an estimated 4.5 million people have been injured or killed.
The Republic Institute for Public Health said 106 people had died and
470 had been wounded since a failed Christmas cease-fire began Dec. 20.
In the predominantly Muslim capital of Sarajevo, by the end of 1993 a total
of 9,662 people had been killed and some 56,000 wounded.
Shelling from Bosnian Serb artillery and mortar emplacements surrounding
the city and sniper fire adds daily to the total. The war killed 24 people
in Sarajevo during the the first four days of 1994.
January 11, 1994, (Reuter), By Chris Helgren
RIVALS FIGHT IN SARAJEVO, SERBS REJECT NATO DEMAND
A Reuter photographer said intersections on the notorious
"Sniper Alley" highway running through Sarajevo were exposed to
heavy rifle fire.
June 16, 1994, From Findings of Bosnia War Crimes Commission
37. New mosque in Kalesija was heavily damaged. The aggressor
used its minaret as sniper and machine-gun nest.
43. The mosque in Caparde, Kalesija, was used by the aggressors
as a military barracks, and the minaret as a sniper nest. During
their withdrawal, the mosque was heavily damaged.
November, 1994, from WAR AND ARCHITECTURE
by Lebbeus Woods
END OF THE LINE
While the news media report the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina
and the siege of its capital as "a civil war" and an "ethnic
conflict," the reality is far different. For whatever
reason, the West cannot seem to grasp that this is a war
against cultural diversity for which Sarajevo is today the
most obvious symbol and target. The richness of this city's
cultural life evolved slowly, over the centuries of its
history. Old line Yugoslav political leaders, attempting to
re-solidify their power after the fall of Communism, have
exploited the healthy creative tensions within Bosnian
culture by provoking national, ethnic and religious fears
where they did not exist before, gathering them together
into a weapon of hatred and war aimed at Bosnia's foremost
symbol of tolerance and of hope, Sarajevo. This has been
made clear by the especially brutal nature of the siege
against this city. Its aim is to terrorize people, to
humiliate them, forcing them into a surrender not only of
the physical city, but of the conceptual one as well.
To a large extent the siege is a war of the rural
against the urban, of xenophobic mountain people egged on by
unscrupulous politicians against the complexity and subtlety
of a cosmopolitan city. The implications of this siege are
more universal than they might at first appear. Cultural
richness and complexity are themselves under attack. As
anyone can see by reading newspapers or watching television,
this is occurring not only in Sarajevo, but wherever
fundamentalism, ethnic chauvinism, and nationalism are on
the rise. Sarajevo is, however, the city where the crisis is
revealed today in its most naked form. The struggle to
preserve Sarajevo is today a vital part of the struggle to
preserve the very idea of city.
THE CAPITAL OF UNCERTAINTY
The destruction of culturally significant buildings is a
great loss, but that of ordinary buildings is even greater.
Just as the most terrible damage from the siege has been to
the people of Sarajevo and to the fabric of their everyday
life, so the worst architectural damage has been to the
ordinary buildings comprising the everyday fabric of the
city. Many shops, schools, hospitals, apartment and office
buildings have become uninhabitable. Their walls have been
penetrated by artillery shells, their windows are shattered
by blasts, and their interiors are gutted and burned. The
majority of other buildings damaged by shelling are still
habitable, once repairs have been made, but often only
partly so. In the cold weather, only one room in a flat may
have heat from a gas or wood stove, and this is where people
live. Also, some rooms are more dangerous than others
because their windows and walls are exposed to sniper-fire
or to the shrapnel of artillery shells exploding nearby, and
cannot be used. These and other forced revisions to the
planned use of spaces present a serious challenge to the
idea of planning in itself. In a field dominated by
uncertainties, it is not possible to design according to pre-
determined programs of use, even those which claim to be
'multi-functional,' flexible, or 'hybrid.' Sarajevo, if it
is in fact 'the first city of the 21st century,' presents
architecture with new and fundamental questions, for which
the answers of the 20th century are clearly inadequate.
No other condition In Sarajevo demonstrates this as
well as the fate of the the city's many modern high-rise
buildings. Dependent as they were on urban infrastructures
of electricity, water, gas or steam for heating, they can no
longer be inhabited, at least above the first few floors.
Not only are they the most exposed targets, but also the
most difficult for people to climb with the large plastic
containers of water that must be drawn and carried by hand
from the city's few public sources. This is not only a
matter of functional inconvenience, but more so of a
critical exposure of the relationship of architecture to
centralized structures of authority. These buildings were
designed not for their inhabitants as much as for the social
order that sponsored them, an order based on predictability
and central planning. Now that this order has collapsed, the
buildings are useless, except as monuments to the death of
not only of certainty, but of its enforcement through the
promulgation of large-scale plans.
The real scale of life in Sarajevo today is rather
small and, in a very tactile sense, intimate. Before the
war, the architects of Sarajevo designed buildings that fit
neatly into the grand designs of the bureaucracy, or
concerned themselves with ornaments on those plans, like
public parks and elaborate urban villas for a new
aristocracy who were to oversee the transition from
socialism to a free-market economy. All that optimism has
melted away now, in the heat of a reality that will not be
so easily ignored, which is one of unresolved deep
structures. The siege is a manifestation of this reality,
and offers as a solution to its problematics the scale of
the individual, who must shape his or her life within a
matrix of shifting probabilities. The scale of living---
therefore of design---is the room, the street, the
'intrapersonal' spaces of the conversation, the handshake,
and the embrace.
A WALK IN THE PARK
Sarajevans, under assault though they are---and contrary to
expectations raised by the Western media---refuse to behave
like victims. Beginning at first light, Sarajevans are out
in the streets, walking everywhere, because gasoline, when
it can be found, is thirty dollars a liter, and therefore
very few cars can run. And because electricity is
intermittent at best, the tram system was shut down long
ago. But the people of Sarajevo do not mind walking. They
have always walked. They are social and like to see one
another. They stop in cafes---now mostly hidden in
courtyards---to sip coffee with friends, smoke cigarettes,
and talk. They go to their work---now mostly some kind of
self-employment or for humanitarian-aid agencies. They shop-
--mostly for meager goods: scarce foods or second-hand
clothing or appliances. But they are on the move, not
cowering, still alive.
More than merely alive, the people of Sarajevo are the
same as people anywhere---they are trying to live their
lives as normally as they can. But unlike people anywhere
else, they are forced by abnormal conditions and sub-normal
people to live a nightmare of violence, deprivation and
Walking in Sarajevo has its hazards. Because the snipers
are shooting from the mountain ridges into the city during
all daylight hours, people must find a path screened from
the view from those high and deadly points. Across some
intersections it is advisable to always run. Across others,
barricades have been built of steel cargo containers, or
steel plates These cannot stop the bullets from a high-
powered sniper's rifle, but they frustrate the killers'
views. There are, of course, the mortar shells that may fall
at any moment, and which no amount of care can avoid.
And then there are the obstacles, terrible and trivial.
Burned out cars and trams---targets of choice for the bored
snipers in the hills, who prefer the occasional rapidly-
moving target to break the boredom of shooting at the slower
moving human targets. The surprisingly infrequent litter
from an overflowing trash container, amongst which one sees
unexpected things, such as Yugoslavian dinar notes---money
without any currency at all. Holes in sidewalks and
pavements from exploding mortar shells and grenades. Too
often, figures of the wounded and the dead.
Passing Sarajevo's many parks, people no longer find
trees. They have been cut down for firewood (last winter,
when a law was passed in the city government to permit it).
Instead they find a new type of grove composed of rows and
rows of grave markers. One enters these parks only under the
cover of night, or out of the deepest reverence for the
dead, for these places are the most exposed places in the
city, and thus the most treacherous killing fields of them
CRACKS IN THE WALL
There is an almost impenetrable wall around Sarajevo today.
It is not a wall that protects the city and its people, but
is instead one that isolates them from direct contact with
the world. The wall is made of several layers.
The first layer is the front-line on the ridges, where the
Bosnian army holds at bay the invading, besieging Serbian
army, but cannot prevent the continuous sniping and shelling
of the city below. This is the principal layer, onto which
the others have been constructed.
The second layer of the wall is the UNHCR4 and its
military component, UNPROFOR5. Their main function is to
operate and protect cargo planes that contain humanitarian
aid flown daily into Sarajevo. Because the city is
surrounded by Serbian military forces, these flights are
effectively the only ways in and out of Sarajevo. Because
these UN agencies do not consider art and culture as
humanitarian aid, artists and their work are not allowed
into or out of Sarajevo on UNHCR relief flights, even though
there is room on the aircraft for them. Because these
agencies do not consider the transport of people (not
soldiers) severely wounded by the snipers and shelling as
humanitarian aid, their planes fly out of Sarajevo's airport
several times a day with empty cargo bays, and the wounded
are left to suffer in hospitals without heat or light,
without proper medicines, equipment or anaethetics. It has
been said that Sarajevo is the world's largest concentration
camp, a prison and a ghetto, where people are being tortured
and killed before the eyes of the world. And it is true.
The third layer of the wall is created by the mass-media,
with its scores of journalists and television news crews,
and is composed of images that suit the media's conceptions
of the war, which in turn are formed by expectations in the
various countries it serves. Victimization themes play
better 'back home' than stories about Sarajevo's concerts,
plays and exhibitions of the works of artists who oppose
brutality with creativity and poetry. Perhaps this is
because people elsewhere believe that art and culture shrink
to insignificance in the face of suffering and death. If so,
then they do not understand the role that art and culture
play in the survival of humanity not only in its most
desperate hours, but in its day-to-day struggles against
more insidious forms of attack. In Sarajevo, art and culture
make cracks in the wall of the ghetto, from which emerge
strong signs of life and hope.
December 4, 1994
A LETTER FROM SARAJEVO
ONE THOUSAND DAYS OF SOLITUDE
Rightly or wrongly, many Sarajevans lay the blame for the bankruptcy of
Balkan policy at the feet of the U.N. and its Secretary-General, Boutros
Boutros-Ghali. Their bitterness and desperation are reflected in the
following dispatch by TIME contributor Zlatko Dizdarevic, which was
translated by Ammiel Alcalay:
It is cold in Sarajevo, and people are hungry again. During the summer,
after two months of having a road open to the outside world, we had the
feeling that things might turn around. Then, at least, there was some hope;
now all hope has been buried. We hear people say, ''Sarajevo is abandoned,
left alone.'' It's remarkable how people who say such things really don't
have a clue. The world -- at least the part that makes decisions -- was never
with Sarajevo or Bosnia to begin with. To say we've been abandoned now only
adds insult to injury. Come Jan. 1, Sarajevo will have been under siege for
1,000 days -- 1,000 days of solitude. How can anyone say that it is only now
that we've been abandoned?
Some may remember the recent image of that seven-year-old boy who was hit in
the face by a sniper's bullet in the middle of Sarajevo, holding on to his
mother's hand as they ran past a U.N. armored personnel carrier. As the boy
lay dying, his face was turned toward the asphalt, his left hand raised to
his head, soaked in his blood. His name was Nermin Divovic. He wasn't killed
by surprise, by a shell. He was sought out by a Serb sniper who waited, got
him into his telescopic sights, looked at his face and then pulled the
trigger. Then the same sniper shot Nermin's mother in the stomach so she
would not die immediately, but would watch her son die first.
That is the reality of Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the place where
U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali says that a war is being waged
between ''Side A and Side B.'' Sarajevans wanted to tell Boutros-Ghali last
week that Nermin Divovic, tracked down in a rifle sight and shot in the face,
is not Side A, just as that creature who killed him is not Side B. That is
why Sarajevans welcomed Boutros-Ghali on his recent visit to the city with a
concert of boos and hisses the likes of which haven't yet been heard in this
city. Two placards stood out: one, scrawled on a piece of cardboard torn from
a box that once perhaps contained humanitarian aid, simply said GHALI HITLER;
another said GHALI ISN'T A MAN.
The first summed up political opinion around here, namely that fascism's
heavy boots have marched over the backs of Bosnian civilians to steal into
Europe, aiding and abetting a new Hitlerism. The second slogan was Sarajevo's
own special way of expressing its contempt for the U.N. Boutros-Ghali was
probably unaware that these four words dealt the lowest possible blow ever
dreamed up by the legendary sports fans of Sarajevo. In former days of glory,
die-hard fans used to berate bumbling referees with the same slogan: ''The
ref isn't a man.'' One of the referees said later, ''I feel miserable. It's
not a question of manliness, but that they've told me I'm nothing, a zero.''
Apparently he got it.
Did Boutros-Ghali get it? Perhaps. His assessment that he needn't exchange
his black cashmere overcoat for a bulletproof vest was right on the money.
Nobody in this town would have fired a shot at him because he represents an
organization for which the people of Sarajevo feel contempt rather than hate.
If you looked closely at the faces of the girls shoving placards under the
noses of the Secretary-General and his military entourage, you would have
seen that they were laughing at them. The Sarajevo diehards who chanted ''The
ref isn't a man'' will be the same people to help the blue helmets get on
their way one of these days, even though U.N. commanders keep warning what
''a difficult and complex operation'' that will be. To leave the battlefield
without having fired a shot has always been a difficult and complex
Fortunately, there are also those who stay in the battle, like my neighbor
Amir. Unlike NATO, which cannot fly when it gets dark or foggy or when
targets ''retreat into the woods,'' he has already chalked up -- by himself
-- 15 Serb tanks. The army of Bosnia and Herzegovina has invested the
following in Amir: half a uniform, one blanket, a dozen cans of food and an
insignia. His mother provided the rest: a shirt, two pairs of socks and a
sweater. So much for Side A and Side B.
In our part of the world, fathers, that is, the men, have a duty to protect
their seven-year-old kids. This is thought of as a natural duty. Around here,
someone who doesn't do it but could (since he has missiles and rockets and
planes to call upon) isn't considered a man. The Sarajevo diehards said what
had to be said -- whether it was then, at a game, or last week, to
Boutros-Ghali and the U.N. The only difference is that this isn't a game.
This is human misery, and the account has not even begun to be settled. Until
that happens, it's worth surviving and watching the children. Then it's worth
winning. There is no other way out.
Dec 5, 1994, SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP)
Bosnia Serbs Feel They've Won
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) -- For Svetozar Kovacevic, a
Bosnian Serb sniper, the war has been won, and only Serbs can set
the terms for peace.
``When will the Muslims realize this so we can all go home?''
Kovacevic said, peering through the cross-hairs of his sniper rifle
at civilians on Sarajevo's main thoroughfare. ``The war is over. We
From their perch in a charred high-rise in the Serb-held
neighborhood of Grbavica, just 200 meters from a main road known as
``Sniper Alley,'' Kovacevic and his fellow snipers discussed
international attempts to end the war.
Their leaders, they decided, should not accept the peace plan
devised by the United States, France, Britain, Germany and Russia.
The plan, repeatedly rejected by Bosnian Serb leaders, has been
modified in recent weeks to accommodate some Serb demands in hopes
of finally ending the 32-month war.
Unveiled last Friday, it allows Bosnian Serbs certain political
links with Serbia, one of their stated goals. It also says the
ethnic division of Bosnia -- 49 percent of territory for the Serbs
and 51 percent for allied Croats and Muslims -- could be altered if
all sides agreed.
Serbs now hold about 70 percent of Bosnian territory.
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, who incited the Bosnian
Serbs to war but now wants to end punitive economic sanctions on
his country by making peace, severed ties and halted most supplies
to the Bosnian Serbs last summer to pressure them to accept the
plan. That only fueled defiance among Bosnian Serbs, who felt
betrayed and fought on.
``Confederation with Serbia?'' asked Radomir Blagojevic, another
Bosnian Serb sniper in Grbavica. ``They failed us once. We can't,
we must not, rely on them any more.''
Milosevic continued the pressure Monday, meeting with a
high-level Bosnian Serb delegation, which later said it would
recommend that the so-called Bosnian Serb assembly consider
accepting the amended peace plan.
But hardliners dominate that assembly and Bosnian Serb leader
Radovan Karadzic was not at the Belgrade talks. Karadzic has
rejected the revamped peace plan, saying only sovereignty and
international recognition for his self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb
state can end the war.
Those are conditions neither the West, nor the internationally
recognized Bosnian government, have said they will accept.
The Serb soldiers in Grbavica appeared content to wait until
they get the peace they want.
``Time is on our side,'' said Blagojevic, as his comrades played
cards, smoked or watched television. ``We can wait for what is good
Kovacevic, his sniper rifle equipped with a laser sight, manned
``Why don't you try it? It's easy,'' he grinned.
Sept 22, 1994, SARAJEVO (Reuter)
NATO stages air strike against Bosnian Serbs
NATO planes attacked Bosnian Serb forces
Thursday after they shot at a U.N. observation vehicle outside
Sarajevo, a U.N. peace-keeping force spokesman said.
``The air strike has occurred. Details will be known in one
hour,'' spokesman Paul Risley told Reuters. Serb forces earlier
hit the U.N. vehicle with a rifle-propelled grenade, wounding
one peacekeeper, fired at a U.N. anti-sniper team in another
part of Sarajevo and shot and wounded a U.N. soldier, U.N.
U.N. commanders in Bosnia had summoned three limited NATO
air raids on Serb forces before Thursday, two to turn back a
Serb invasion of the U.N.-protected government enclave of
Gorazde in April and the third on Serbs violating a U.N.
weapons-exclusion zone around Sarajevo in August.
``The Sarajevo sector is on red alert,'' Lieutenant Colonel
Bernard Labarsouque, spokesman for the U.N. French battalion
whose armored vehicle was hit by the rifle-launched grenade,
told Reuters as NATO warplanes roared overhead.
Serb forces targeted the vehicle as it was monitoring a
firefight between them and the Muslim-led Bosnian government
army defending the capital.
U.N. officers said the Serbs had also fired a 20mm
anti-aircraft gun banned within Sarajevo's security zone at a
U.N. patrol in the western suburb of Butmir, targeted a U.N.
armored car with a heavy machine gun in the city center and
wounded a French soldier in a separate attack not far away.
Sept 22, 1994, NAPLES, Italy (Reuter)
NATO confirms Sarajevo air strike aimed at Serb tank
NATO confirmed that its planes
attacked a Bosnian Serb tank near Sarajevo Thursday after
Bosnian Serbs fired on a French U.N. armored personnel carrier.
An official statement issued at NATO's southern command in
Naples said the attack was agreed in conjunction with the U.N.
Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in former Yugoslavia. It did not say
whether the tank had been hit or which planes took part.
U.S. defense officials in Washington said French and British
jet fighters strafed and bombed the Bosnian Serb tank west of
Sarajevo. They said U.S. jets were also in the area but
apparently they were not involved in the attack.
The NATO statement said:
``Following a Bosnian Serb attack against a French armoured
personel carrier today near Sarajevo, NATO aircraft attacked a
Bosnian Serb tank which was within the 20 km exclusion zone
Serb forces earlier hit the French U.N. vehicle with a
rifle-propelled grenade, wounding one peacekeeper, fired at a
U.N. anti-sniper team in another part of Sarajevo and shot and
wounded a U.N. soldier, U.N. officials said.
December 12, 1994, The Bosnia Action Coalition (Mass.)
Most of Sarajevo remains without electricity or natural gas, leaving
residents no way to heat or light their homes. Many are forced to burn
remaining books, magazines, and furniture which survived the first two winters
of siege to try to cook food and provide minimal heat.
Grenade attacks and lethal sniping continue in the city, making it
increasingly dangerous for residents to go out seeking food or fuel. Another
man was murdered Saturday and a second injured. An AP reporter visiting Serb
fighters saw one sniper holding a rifle with laser sights, watching unarmed
civilians in Sarajevo's streets. "`Why don't you try it? It's easy,' he
More shells have landed on Sarajevo now than on all of Yugoslavia when Nazi
Germany attacked the country in World War II, Reuters reports. An estimated
15,000 Sarajevans -- more than 1,000 of them children -- have been slaughtered
by sniping and shelling.
VOICE OF AMERICA radio program.
PROGRAM ON THE FATE OF SARAJEVO
BY LARRY JAMES. PRODUCED VOA PARIS BUREAU.
LISTENING TO THE FRANK SKEPTICISM FROM THESE TWO YOUNG
MEN ABOUT THE CHANCES FOR PEACE BRINGS HOME THE
FRUSTRATION MANY HERE FEEL ABOUT HAVING PROSPECTS FOR A
BETTER LIFE PUT ON WHAT SEEMS A PERMANENT HOLD.
PEOPLE IN SARAJEVO WILL TELL YOU THEY NEVER THOUGHT THIS
COULD HAPPEN -- THIS CIVIL WAR WHICH FOR NEARLY THREE
YEARS HAS PITTED BOSNIAN SERBS, CROATS AND MUSLIMS
AGAINST EACH OTHER. SERB GUNNERS HAVE SURROUNDED THE
CITY FOR MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND DAYS NOW, ROUTINELY
SENDING SHELLS, MORTARS AND SNIPER FIRE INTO ITS MIDST.
IN SOME AREAS OF TOWN HARDLY A PANE OF GLASS REMAINS
INTACT AND BULLET HOLES ARE SO COMMON THAT THE RARE
UNSCARRED BUILDING LOOKS SOMEHOW INCOMPLETE.
RESIDENTS HAVE LONG GOTTEN USED TO RUNNING ALONG SOME OF
THE CITY'S STREETS, DODGING BULLETS, SHELLS AND SNIPER
FIRE. IN SOME PLACES SIGNS HAVE BEEN PUT UP AS A
REMINDER THAT THIS AREA IS A FAVORITE OF SNIPERS. AN
ESTIMATED 10-THOUSAND SARAJEVANS HAVE BEEN KILLED AND
50-THOUSAND WOUNDED SINCE THE SIEGE BEGAN -- MOST DIED
IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE WAR, BUT THE THREAT OF SUDDEN
DEATH STILL HANGS OVER THE HEADS OF THE CITY'S
380-THOUSAND RESIDENTS. SOMEONE IS SHOT NEARLY EVERY
May 12, 1995, SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP)
Pushed by Bosnia's
combatants to choose between getting tough and getting out, the
United Nations on Friday told its beleaguered peacekeepers to shoot
to kill to protect themselves.
Although all peacekeeping missions are told they can return fire
to protect themselves, troops often withhold fire depending on how
assertive the United Nations is trying to be in protecting its
mission. Friday's blunt instructions signaled that peacekeeping
nations were likely to stay.
France in particular had been threatening to withdraw unless the
mission took a stronger posture. The instructions were issued a day
after a sniper shot a French soldier in the head near Sarajevo's
notorious ``Sniper Alley.''
A withdrawal of the 24,000 U.N. soldiers in Bosnia almost
certainly would draw in the NATO alliance to protect them while
they moved out. It also would lead to a scramble by Bosnia's armies
for U.N. military equipment and to heavier fighting.
In response to the new instructions, a U.N. crew fired a single
rifle shot after a Serb anti-aircraft round struck near their
armored vehicle by the Jewish cemetery, a front line where there
was heavy fighting Friday.
Bosnian Serbs said two women were killed by government snipers
in Serb-held Lukavica. Serb shelling killed a woman in a northern
Sarajevo suburb, and snipers wounded a girl in the western suburb
Feb 22, 1995, B o s N e w s THIS WEEK IN BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA
TENSIONS RISE IN SARAJEVO. Serbs claim a policeman and one other person were
killed by rifle-fire in the occupied suburb of Vojkovici. Serb nationalists
responded by firing 2 mortar bombs at homes in the Hrasnica suburb; they also
once again threatened to close the city's airport to aid deliveries and shut
the "Blue Routes" now open to civilian traffic 4 hours a day. A Serb sniper
shot a Sarajevan on Sunday. The previous Sunday, Serb snipers shot a 16-year-
old boy, "and then picked off a 43-year-old man who tried to rescue him,"
An estimated 40,000 Sarajevans have used the Blue Routes in the past 2.5
weeks, many to cross into Hrasnica to buy food at lower prices than in the
besieged city. "The Serbs will seal off Sarajevo again....I must be ready for
that," Sarajevan Fadila Kulenovic told AP as she bought supplies in Hrasnica.
Heavy fighting is expected to erupt across Bosnia in the spring.
March 8, 1995, BOSNIA FRONTLINE, DOUGLAS ROBERTS
TWICE, HE HAS BEEN WOUNDED. HE LIFTS HIS SHIRT TO REVEAL THE
SCAR FROM A SNIPER'S BULLET THAT PASSED WITHIN CENTIMETERS OF HIS
HE FIRST WENT INTO COMBAT, DRESSED IN CIVILIAN CLOTHES AND
CARRYING A HOME-MADE RIFLE. AN EXHIBIT AT THE SECOND BRIGADE'S
SMALL MUSEUM FOCUSES ON THE ARTISANAL NATURE OF THE BOSNIAN
ARMY'S WEAPONRY WHEN THE WAR BEGAN -- SHOTGUNS FASHIONED FROM
STEEL PIPES, MOLOTOV COCKTAILS MADE FROM JUICE AND OLIVE OIL
NOKTO ZIAD CARRIES A MACHINEGUN NOW, CAPTURED, HE SAYS, FROM A
SERB SOLDIER. HE HAS RECENTLY BEEN ISSUED AN ARMY UNIFORM.
AS THE WAR MOVES INTO ITS FOURTH YEAR, THERE IS NO DOUBT THE
BOSNIAN ARMY IS BETTER EQUIPPED. WEAPONS AND AMMUNITION ARE
GETTING IN, DESPITE THE U-N ARMS EMBARGO. SECOND BRIGADE
COMMANDERS ARE RELUCTANT TO DISCUSS THE ISSUE. BUT, SAYS ONE
OFFICER HERE, WE HAVE ENOUGH ARMS NOW.
BUT OTHER RESOURCES ARE STILL LACKING. SOLDIERS ARE PAID IN
CIGARETTES -- 30 PACKS A MONTH -- ALONG WITH IRREGULAR SUPPLIES
OF FLOUR, VEGETABLE OIL, AND CANNED GOODS.
NOKTO ZIAD'S WIFE AND TWO CHILDREN ARE LARGELY DEPENDENT ON
HUMANITARIAN AID. SOMETIMES THEY JOIN HIM FOR MEALS AT THE
SECOND BRIGADE'S MESS -- WITH ONLY BEANS, RICE, PASTA, AND BREAD
AMONG THE ITEMS BEING OFFERED. THE ONLY MEAT WE SEE, HE SAYS
WITH A WRY GRIN, IS IN MAGAZINE PICTURES.
NOKTO ZIAD MANS AN OBSERVATION POST ON THE EDGE OF THIS HILLTOP
VILLAGE, WATCHING THE MOVEMENTS OF SERB FORCES DUG IN BARELY 200
IT IS EASY TO UNDERSTAND THE STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE OF THE VILLAGE,
SOKOLJE. IT SITS ASTRIDE A ROAD LEADING FROM SARAJEVO TO MOUNT
ZUC, ONE OF THE PEAKS THAT COMMANDS ACCESS TO THE CAPITAL.
THE SOLDIERS OF THE SECOND BRIGADE HAVE FOUGHT OFF SEVERAL
TANK-LED SERB OFFENSIVES HERE. THE VILLAGE HAS BEEN DUBBED THE
SETTLEMENT OF HEROES. ONCE THE SERBS PENETRATED ABOUT 500 METERS
INSIDE SOKOLJE. EVERY BUILDING BEARS THE SCARS OF BATTLE. MANY
HOMES HAVE BEEN REDUCED TO RUBBLE.
ALTHOUGH THERE HAVE BEEN NO MAJOR BATTLES HERE OVER THE PAST
YEAR, SNIPER FIRE IS A CONSTANT THREAT. AND THE VILLAGERS HAVE
DEVISED A NOVEL USE FOR THE UBIQUITOUS PLASTIC SHEETING SUPPLIED
BY THE U-N'S REFUGEE AGENCY. INSTEAD OF USING IT TO REPLACE
SHATTERED WINDOWS, HERE THE STRIPS OF PLASTIC ARE STRUNG UP ALONG
THE ROADSIDE FACING SERB POSITIONS, TO SPOIL THE AIM OF THE
SNIPERS IN THEIR TRENCHES BELOW.
THE COMBATANTS HERE TRADE MORE THAN GUNFIRE. SAYS NOKTO ZIAD,
SOMETIMES WE SHOUT INSULTS AT EACH OTHER, AND SOMETIMES THE SERBS
EVEN INVITE US FOR CIGARETTES AND COFFEE. THE INVITATIONS ARE
RARELY, IF EVER, ACCEPTED.
BEFORE THE WAR, SERBS MADE UP ABOUT SEVEN PERCENT OF SOKOLJE'S
POPULATION. AND NOKTO ZIAD SAYS MOST WOULD BE WELCOME TO RETURN
-- AS LONG AS THEY PLAYED NO PART IN THE MASSACRES AND OTHER
HORRORS THAT HAVE BEEN THE GRIM HALLMARK OF THIS CONFLICT.
May 10, 1995, SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (Reuter)
Fighting spread in
Bosnia Wednesday as mortar and sniper fire inflicted casualties
in Sarajevo and ethnic Croats and Serbs fought an intensive
artillery duel in the north.
U.N. peacekeepers, who came under fire in the Bosnian
capital, said rebel Serb forces were tightening a siege of the
city and demanded a review of their mission by U.N. chiefs to
make it more effective.
Four people were wounded by mortars which crashed into
Sarajevo's old town in mid-morning and sniper fire injured four
other people during the day.
A rifle-fired grenade hit a French U.N. armored car on the
city's notorious ``Sniper Alley'' but its three crew on
anti-sniper patrol were unscathed.
France is already considering the future of its U.N.
peacekeeping contingent - the largest provided by any country in
Bosnia - after snipers shot and killed two of its soldiers last
June 6, 1995, N.Y. Times News Service, By ROGER COHEN
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - After more than three years of war, the lines
of sniper fire are pretty well known in this city. But the Bosnian Serbs
recently opened a new one, straight down the central Marshal Tito avenue, and
on Tuesday they displayed their new prowess.
A bullet smashed through the windshield of a white Volkswagen Golf, grazing
the driver's eye. Sejla Krlicbegovic, 12, watched as the four men in the car
crawled out and dashed for cover. A French U.N. armored personnel carrier
rumbled out to cover the line of fire.
``I'm just waiting for my mummy to get home from work,'' the blue-eyed girl
said in English. ``I've seen so many people killed, and I'm so sorry I can do
nothing for them.''
It was early afternoon, and terror again gripped the people who believed for
some time that the worst was over. A woman tried to run as she dragged a
makeshift cart filled with containers of water; another hitched up her skirt
as she dashed for cover; a third moved awkwardly on high heels; a man dragged
some branches to burn as firewood; a Bosnian soldier clutched a guitar in one
hand, a rifle in the other.
Muhamer Hramic, a policeman, watched the mayhem. ``We are very tired of
this,'' he said. ``My job is not to think. My job is to survive.''
Beyond the international politics and diplomacy of the last ten days, the
U.N. hostages and the downed American plane, these are the facts. A
surrounded European capital, bereft of water and gas, and as hermetically
sealed off from the world as at any time in the past three years. Aid flights
have been stopped for two months now and no food is getting in overland.
Inside the city, about 300,000 exhausted people, dashing from snipers once
again, dreading the shell's echoing boom, and more moved by the fact that the
prices of potatoes and candles are rising steeply than by talk of new
international rapid reaction forces. A single candle now costs four dollars.
The French armored personnel carrier began a shuttle service across the
avenue. Nobody dared cross, unless covered by the vehicle. An old woman tried
to run to join one crossing. A French soldier, Thierry Barthege, told her to
take it easy, he would wait for her.
``We protect people as much as we can,'' Barthege said. ``But that's about
all that's left of our mission. This is total insanity.''
Back and forth, back and forth, the armored personnel carrier went, with a
group of terrified Sarajevans huddled behind it each time. In a city where
over 10,000 people have died since the war began in 1992, it is still
shocking to see streets that had been regarded as safe suddenly exposed to
fire. People lose their tenuous bearings.
The slow-moving vehicle seemed to sum up the utter plight of the U.N. mission
here. The ``safe area'' of Sarajevo, established last year through a NATO
ultimatum, has ceased to exist. The Serbs have taken back all their guns.
There are no more weapons-collection sites. There are no constraints on
shelling. The U.N. mission itself is so short of food it will start using
rations on Thursday.
A Serb named Alexander, who did not want to give his family name, gazed at
the people running. ``We were so optimistic last year,'' he said. ``It was
enough for us to have water and electricity to be optimistic. But now we've
had it with everything.''
Asked about the nationalist Serbs on the surrounding hills, he said:
John Jordan, an American fireman from Rhode Island, arrived on the scene. He
has been here three years, as the head of Global Operations Fire and Rescue
Service, an agency working for the United Nations. Having just watched his
president on CNN, his mood was one of deep disgust, reflecting the extreme
bitterness and sense of abandonment that are shared by many in this city
``What just happened on this street is OK,'' he said, ``It's OK with the
folks in Washington.''
``I'm just here to put the wet stuff on the red stuff but I tell you Bosnia
has been an eye-opener for me in terms of understanding what my country
stands for. This is a European city with a dirt trench around it and Serbian
men with guns killing children on a regular basis. And that's OK.''
June 9, 1995, SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP)
Empty pockets finally did
what mortar shells, sniper bullets and flames couldn't, forcing an
American firefighter committed to Sarajevo to leave his adopted
No one said much as John Jordan, a 40-year-old Rhode Islander,
left Friday to embark on a ``blitz for funds'' in the United States
for his small firefighting and paramedic unit in Sarajevo.
``You are holding the fort now,'' Jordan told Anjela Johnston, a
26-year-old paramedic from Winter Park, Fla., the only remaining
American firefighter in Sarajevo.
Jordan came to the Bosnian capital in March 1992, moved by
television scenes of civilians killed and wounded by shells and
snipers, and of ill-equipped firemen pinned down by bullets while
trying to fight flames.
Jordan and volunteers from Rhode Island got some equipment into
besieged Sarajevo. In 1993, he organized the U.N. FIRE-EMS, a unit
of American volunteers, firefighters and paramedics who worked
under the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
Before long, Jordan's imposing, robust figure was seen often at
trouble spots all over the city, a U.S. M-14 rifle in hand as
defense against sniper fire.
Racing through the city in white Dodge trucks, he and his
volunteers picked up victims of snipers or shelling from streets
and rush them to the nearest hospital. They were the only group
equipped and trained to treat casualties on the spot and en route
Jordan and his colleagues spent almost three years saving lives.
But earlier this year, the UNHCR, short of money for its mission in
Bosnia, had to cut them back.
Since March, firefighters and paramedics from the U.N. FIRE-EMS
unit have been working for free, receiving no salaries, paying no
bills, and living on food rations. The only help that the United
Nations in Sarajevo could provide was fuel for firefighters'
vehicles and water for their pumps.
Left behind to hold down the fort, there is little Johnson can
do on her own besides contacting U.N. peacekeepers when snipers pin
down firefighters or medical teams.
She hopes Jordan will return soon with money.
``I'll be back,'' Jordan said moments before leaving Sarajevo.
``I have to be back.''
December 21, 1995, "Lib=E9ration", Paris, Interview by Jean Hatzfeld
It was no surprise that Lieutenant-Colonel de Stabenrath knew the Serbian
positions by heart, and those of the Bosnians as well. Three years earlier, on
1 July 1992 he had been in command of the first French UN contingent in
Sarajevo, assigned to secure the airport, protect convoys, and "try to find
out something about a very confused situation, to try and get an idea about
the militias and the armies, about the confrontation lines, and to make
contact with the belligerents. It was the beginning of a period of attraction
and repulsion with all those involved."
He explained: "With the means at our disposal, the only we could intervene in
this civil war was by exerting pressure -- for example on the populations
that the militias came from". He cites an example: "One day a sniper was
shooting in the Dobrinja area. Two of our own sharpshooters got him in their
sights and called for an order to fire. Colonel Sartre refused and asked us
first of all to find the sniper's mother in the district so she could persuade
her son to stop shooting. The sniper never fired again. So it was one of our
tasks to influence the population before the militias' got out of hand. That
was what we were supposed to do". A limited action, then. "Unlike others, I
would not say that our rules of engagement were all that bad, but rather that
we did not have the resources to fulfil our mandate. You can't stop a battle
tank with an assault rifle." Six months later he was to quit the Bosnian
capital literally exhausted: "Our longest night's sleep was five hours", he
January 7, 1996, NEW RELEASE of the ClariNet e.News
Things began unraveling in the early hours of New Year's Day.
Alen Mustovic, a 17-year-old Muslim, drove to Croat territory to
visit his Croat girlfriend. He failed to stop at Croat police
checkpoints and was shot dead.
Three days later, two Muslim policemen were wounded by sniper
fire from the Croat west bank. Then on Saturday, Croat policeman
Zeljko Ljubic was shot dead while patrolling the Boulevard. EU
police said the gunfire came from the Muslim east bank.
Although things were generally quiet in Mostar on Sunday,
British soldiers escorting a Dutch military convoy near the central
Bosnian town of Vitez, 50 miles northwest of Sarajevo, came under
fire from unidentified gunmen.
Six shots were fired at a British vehicle by a passing civilian
car. British soldiers returned fire with an SA-80 assault rifle,
IFOR spokesman Lt. Col. David Shaw said.
At least one bullet hit the car but no casualties were reported,
In Mostar, the rash of shootings has put the city on edge.
Koschnick said it hadn't felt so tense since he arrived in May
1994, and residents' moods seemed equally black.
``It was murder,'' said Lucija Markotic, 50, a Croat at Ljubic's
funeral Sunday. ``How can we believe in peace when these things
As Ljubic was buried, 500 mourners sang the Croatian national
``If they had not shot the 17-year-old kid, things would have
been just fine,'' said Mujo Demic, 45, a caretaker in Muslim
Mostar. ``The problem is (that) about 15 to 20 extremists on the
Croatian side provoke ... and make people afraid and suspicious.''
On Christmas Eve, the Bosnian Croat army paraded tanks and heavy
guns through Mostar's stadium, a demilitarized zone under the peace
plan. Bosnian army forces canceled a similar parade planned for
east Mostar after Koschnick forbade the use of weapons.
Koschnick also sent a protest to Croat military authorities but
got no response.
On Friday, the commander of the city's Bosnian Croat battalion
appeared on a TV talk show in a black uniform reminiscent of those
used by Croatia's World War II Nazi puppet state. He gave a fascist
salute as he entered the studio.
``I can tell my grandsons they can rest assured this is not
Bosnia -- this is the Croatian state,'' said the commander, Mladen
Misic. He said the peace accord effectively divided Bosnia between
Serbian and Croatian control.
``That will be Serbia, this will be Croatia,'' he said. ``And if
there are those who don't like it, that's just tough for them.''
He said Bosnia's Muslims must respect Croatian laws. ``If not,
they know what to expect.''
Koschnick acknowledged that Croat authorities want to divide
Mostar. But he vowed to oppose such moves.
``As a German, I will never agree to a split city, in memory of
Berlin,'' Koschnick said. ``A split city breeds hatred and is a
danger for the future.''
February 1, 1996, THIS WEEK IN BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA
SNIPER INCIDENT TIGHTENS NATO SECURITY.
An American soldier was
grazed in the neck by a sniper's bullet in Serb-occupied Ilidza Sunday,
but escaped serious injury. The incident prompted NATO to strictly
enforce security regulations for its soldiers, including traveling only
in pairs with at least one man armed, and wearing flack jackets and
helmets whenever traveling in vehicles.
"This is not a very great way to inspire confidence in the local
population," one French officer complained to Reuters. A NATO spokesman
answered that they don't want to present disgruntled snipers with a "soft
On Wednesday, NATO spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Rayner said sniping
incidents against NATO forces had increased over the past week in Serb-
occupied Ilidza. Two British vehicles crossing a bridge in the center of
Ilidza were hit by small-arms fire; one soldier was wounded in the wrist.
In addition, NATO soldiers say their Ilidza quarters have been hit by
gunfire. NATO officials responded by meeting Serb civilian leaders.
Feb 18, 1996, Associated Press
NATO Captures Terrorist Training Camp, Claims Iranian Involvement
DUSINA, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- A swift, bloodless raid on a quiet ski chalet
NATO forces say was a terrorist school where Iranians trained Bosnian
government agents. The
raiders seized high-powered weapons and explosives, booby-trapped toys and
Inside the chalet, American servicemen guided journalists through two rooms
with tables bearing
bombs, detonators, booby-trapped toys and toiletries and documents. In one
room, tables were
upturned and drawers dumped on the floor.
One serviceman showed reporters an Iran Air ticket to Tehran for an Iranian
"who was here on the
ground, who was here in the building and was caught." A portrait of the late
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini lay on a table.
Smith showed reporters a rack of 60 automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenade
launchers and a
sniper rifle with a long green silencer. The arsenal also included hand
blasting caps and explosives.
On one table was a small red car and other children's toys, shampoo bottles and
goods wired with explosives, as well a model of a civilian house that one
serviceman described as
a "mock-up for an assassination."
He picked up a folder that he said was titled: "The Special Operations Project
to Kidnap the Serbian
Officer for Liaison at the PTT Engineering Building in Sarajevo." Last year, a
number of ethnic
Serbs employed by the United Nations at the Sarajevo Post, Telephone and
disappeared without trace.
"The terrorists obviously didn't get any classes on the Geneva Convention"
and attacks on civilians, he said. "But they did, this picture indicates, show
a new and useful way
to blow a child's sneakered foot off," said the American, pointing to a diagram
showing a child's
foot hitting a pressure-activated bomb.
January 18, 1997, The Globe and Mail OTTAWA
Abusive Canadian Soldiers Go Free
The board of inquiry found several serious instances of physical abuse
of patients. In one case, a soldier sahved the head and genital area of a
17-year old female patient. In another case, soldiers sprayed a mental
patient with a fire extinguisher to subdue him. At one time the patient so
angered the Canadians with his behaviour a drunk soldier went outside and
aimed a machine gun at the patient's window and might have fired if he had
not been stopped by others, the report said. In a third incident, a
patient who stole beer from soldiers was beaten.
Not all the violent misbehaviour was directed against local people. A
non-commissioned officer grabbed a subordinate by the throat during an
argument and on another occasion spat in the face of a soldier.
The inquiry also reported that a coporal aimed and cocked his rifle at
another soldier during an argument.
The board also cleared Canadian soldiers of charges that they did nothing
to help a Serbian soldier fatally wounded by sniper fire. The report said
the Canadians did all they could to help the man without exposing
themselves to unnecessary risk.
November 6, 1998, from rec.guns newsgroup post
Absolutely. My opinion is that the guy with the Steyr Scout is probably
an albanian that came back from abroad to fight for his country or a
sympatizer from any European country that decided to defend the kosovar
cause and join the fight. I have no doubt that carrying that rifle is not
going to be any serious handicap. Good precision shooters is what is
needed in that kind of conflict. Guys like that were the ones that
restricted the use of tanks in Bosnia and Croacia to the role of mobile
artillery. In Croacia, three men teams and hit and run tactics defeated
the tank columns of the Jugoslavian Army. Their tactics were: first a
sniper with a high-power rifle blinded the vision ports of the first tank
of the column, then a second guy with and RPG or any other antitank weapon
blew a track, and finally a guy with a RPK finished the tank crew in they
left the tank and covered the retreat.
April 13, 1998; Pg. 38, U.S. News & World Report
By Kevin Whitelaw; Richard J. Newman; David E. Kaplan
Time is running out for Mr. Ethnic Cleansing
But the case against Karadzic may be weak
Radovan Karadzic, former president of the Bosnian Serbs, is one of the
most wanted men in the world. In early 1997, the United States and four
NATO allies began a secret project, code-named Amber Star, to arrest
Karadzic and other Serbs indicted for war crimes by an international
tribunal. U.S. officials decline to say whether Amber Star is still
ongoing. But special commando teams have practiced snatching Karadzic away
from his 100-plus bodyguards. The bold plan has stayed on the shelf partly
because NATO has been unable to obtain "actionable"--meaning precise and
timely--intelligence on Karadzic's whereabouts.
Now, there is a growing possibility that Karadzic will be turned in by
his fellow Serbs. The new, moderate Bosnian Serb government has called for
his arrest and pledged to work with NATO. Momentum is building: NATO
forces have nabbed four suspected war criminals since last July and killed
a fifth in a shootout. Some 24 indicted war criminals are in international
custody and two have been sentenced; five trials are underway at the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
Carlos Westendorp, NATO's top Bosnia representative, predicts that
Karadzic, 52, could be arrested before the end of the month.
Suddenly, putting Karadzic on trial appears more likely. Convicting
him could be the hard part. Western officials have little doubt that
Karadzic masterminded the "ethnic cleansing" (murder, imprisonment, or
expulsion) of more than a million Bosnian Muslims between 1992 and 1994.
But prosecutors still have to prove Karadzic's involvement to a
three-judge panel. "There is probably no evidence usable in the public
trial that he ordered those crimes," says Michael Scharf, a former State
Department legal adviser and the author of Balkan Justice. "It is going to
be difficult to convict Karadzic. "
Even the legal foundations are shaky. At a mock trial held in
Washington last week, a pair of humanitarian-law experts playing the role
of Karadzic's defense counsel offered three arguments that could undermine
the case against him:
Civilian responsibility. Prosecutors are treading soft ground in
trying to hold a civilian leader accountable for the military's actions.
"There is no precedent for this anywhere in the world," says Scharf,
noting that no civilians were convicted for the military's actions at
either the Nuremberg or Tokyo war crimes trials after World War II.
Defense was excluded. Karadzic and his military commander Ratko
Mladic were indicted in 1995 on 36 counts stemming mostly from the siege
of Sarajevo and the slaughter of civilians in the "safe area" of
Srebrenica. Prosecutors detailed some of their case against Karadzic last
summer in a so-called Rule 61 hearing, which was held to reconfirm his
indictment, preserve testimony against him, and pressure the Bosnian Serbs
into handing him over. But Karadzic's attorneys were excluded from that
important proceeding. "You are denying the defendant some very basic
fundamental rights," said Mark Ellis, head of the American Bar
Association's Central and East European Law Initiative, who acted as
Karadzic's lawyer in the mock trial last week.
National boundaries. In the Yugoslav tribunal's first trial, most of
the charges against Bosnian Serb defendant Dusko Tadic were dismissed when
the judges, in a surprise ruling, said the war was an internal one.
War-crimes charges apply only to an international conflict. If the
fighting is deemed internal, prosecutors could pursue charges of genocide
or crimes against humanity, which are more difficult to prove because the
prosecution must establish specific intent.
But the greatest weakness in the prosecutors' case may be a shortage
of witnesses and documentary evidence. During the Rule 61 hearing, the
involvement of Mladic in ethnic cleansing was well documented. But no
witnesses could directly implicate the former president. Unlike the Nazis,
the Bosnian Serbs did not leave an extensive paper trail. "It is hard to
find documentary evidence of him ordering bad things," says William
Stuebner, a former tribunal investigator. Kosta Cavoski, a Belgrade law
professor who has written a legal defense of Karadzic, argues that Mladic
took orders from Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, not Karadzic.
Still, experts think it is unlikely that Karadzic would be completely
exonerated. "He will be found guilty of something," predicts American
University law Prof. Paul Williams. The most damning piece of evidence
made public so far is a video of Karadzic standing in the hills above
Sarajevo showing a visiting Russian poet how to fire a sniper's rifle into
the city. "That alone could get him life," says Yale Law School's Ruth
Wedgwood. She notes that the video makes it nearly impossible for Karadzic
to claim he was unaware of the civilian deaths during the siege of the
October 2, 1998, The Boston Globe Friday, City Edition; Pg. D22
A friendship pierces heart of war
By John Koch, Globe Staff
SHOT THROUGH THE HEART
Written by: Guy Hibert
Directed by: David Attwood
Starring: Linus Roache, Vincent Perez, and Lia Williams
On: HBO; Date: Sunday at 8 p.m.
If Hollywood movies tend to be inhumanly monumental and stuffed with
money rather than artistry, HBO movies often offer an antidote. Coming
this weekend on the cable channel is a fine case in point, a wrenching
film about the disintegration of Sarajevo called "Shot Through the Heart."
It takes place in 1992 when the peaceable multiethnic metropolis broke
apart - not just physically, but culturally and emotionally - under
Bosnian Serb assault. Sensitively filmed partially on location in the
ravaged city, this is no ordinary war film. (It debuts on HBO Sunday at 8
Based on real people and events, it's a story about intimacy and civility
under fire, an account of the destruction of friendship, the fragmentation
of families, the breakdown of years of urban amity. It is a piercingly sad
story, tightly focused on its principal characters, simply told, and
beautifully acted by, among others, costar Linus Roache as Vlado
Before the Yugoslavian breakup, Vlado was a serious recreational marksman.
He and best friend Slavko Simic, buddies from boyhood, often competed
together for the national shooting team and won medals in various Eastern
European capitals. "Shot Through the Heart" begins by evoking their warm
camaraderie as they fire at targets of olives on sticks and party at
Vlado's weekend retreat.
The tragedy of "Shot Through the Heart" is that while their friendship is
never really extinguished, they become mortal enemies. When Slavco is
called up to serve with the forces of Radovan Karadzic, he not only
instructs other snipers but becomes the Bosnian Serbs' most precise killer
of once-fellow Sarajevans.
He nonetheless remains loyal to his old friend, and twice tries to help
Vlado, a Croat, and his Muslim wife flee the besieged city. But even after
enemy artillery showers their apartment with glass, the Sarzinskys refuse
to leave their hometown. Perhaps because of the skillful, sympathetic
evocation of the city and its people, it's easy to identify with his
family's disbelief as this friendly, cosmopolitan city rapidly becomes a
murderous, rubble-strewn hell.
Nothing is more fiendish than the deaths delivered by the distant Serb
snipers. In one scene, notable for its absence of Hollywood flames and
fury, the 12-year-old daughter of the Sarzinskys' best friends is picked
off in front of her apartment building. A dull pop sounds, and she slumps
to the stoop, rag-doll-like, a dark little hole in her forehead.
Why a man like Slavco becomes an accomplice in such slaughter, and why he
accepts an evicted, probably murdered, Muslim family's suburban house as a
reward for his triggerwork is a mystery "Shot Though the Heart" can't
solve. It just presents the contradictions, Slavco's warmth and loyalty
along with his hatred and will to kill, and fuses them in Vincent Perez's
appealingly loose, chillingly credible performance.
Vlado's motives for turning to violence himself are easier to understand
and, among its many virtues, the movie refuses to spin his counter-sniping
into a predictable revenge saga.
This is a film filled with complex human feeling, finely modulated by its
ensemble of adult and child actors. The inevitable "shot through the
heart" fired near the end evinces neither pleasure nor satisfaction, as it
almost certainly would in any more conventional Hollywood versions of the
It's not a perfect movie. The script doesn't, for instance, sufficiently
explain the rather mysterious group of counter-snipers Vlado joins and
helps to train. But director David Attwood's instincts even here are
understandable: He correctly wants to keep our undistracted attention
fixed on the powerful emotional content of the story. And for the most
part, he succeeds admirably.
The result is an intense and memorable movie, the likes of which are hard
to find on the big screen.
October 2, 1998, New York Times, Friday, Late Edition - Final Section E; Part 1; Page 30
The Bonds of Friendship, Suddenly Shattered by War
By Ron Wertheimer
Like scores of other television movies, "Shot Through the Heart" is
based on real events. But unlike so many of the others, this drama feels
brutally real. That is so not only because the film believably grabs its
locale and plot from the news, but also because it paints a memorable
portrait of ordinary people transformed by extraordinary circumstances.
The HBO film, to be seen on Sunday night, is based on an article about the
war in Bosnia by John Falk, a freelance reporter, in the November 1995
issue of Details magazine. Mr. Falk distilled the anguish of sectarian
warfare to the most intimate terms by describing two men, friends since
youth, whose bond is shattered by the bloody conflict: one is a Serb, the
other a Croat married to a Muslim. The friends are champion riflemen who
once won honor for themselves and for Yugoslavia by firing harmlessly at
target ranges. Now that there is no more Yugoslavia, they have learned to
train their sights on the citizens of Sarajevo.
The essence of the script, by Guy Hibbert, comes right out of Mr. Falk's
account. As the story opens, Vlado Sarzhinsky and Slavko Simic are
enjoying some friendly target practice. Slavko, the Serb (Vincent Perez),
has always been the superior shot. He is a carefree bachelor who dotes on
Vlado (Linus Roache), his wife, Maida (Lia Williams), and their daughter
They all enjoy comfortable lives in their cosmopolitan city. But this is
1992. Radovan Karadzic declares the establishment of a Serbian nation. His
army begins a wave of attacks, the manifestations of long-simmering ethnic
animosity. Slavko is called, initially to train the Bosnian Serb army's
recruits; he tells his flabbergasted friend that he will report.
Slavko also begs Vlado to get his family out of the country, offering to
help them escape to Vienna. Vlado refuses to believe that he must abandon
his home. "We're Europeans, for God's sake," he declares. "The moment we
walk away, we lose everything." He soon understands how quickly everything
can be lost.
But it's too late to escape, and Vlado watches as Sarajevo deteriorates
into a war zone. Serbian snipers kill people on the streets and in their
homes. Vlado and his rifle join the city's defenders. When he is told
that one sniper is able to shoot his victims in the head from a tremendous
distance, Vlado knows he must stop the man. And he knows who the man must
Considering its horrific subject, the film, directed by David Attwood on
location in Sarajevo and Budapest, is understated. The war assaults the
viewer's consciousness through the torturous accumulation of mundane
In a remarkable performance, Mr. Roache ("The Wings of the Dove") charts
Vlado's transformation from self-satisfied middle-class businessman to
grizzled guerrilla, investing him with more regret than vengeance. His
scenes with Ms. Williams (a Tony nominee for "Skylight") quietly locate
the shattered hearts of people whose lives have been stolen.
When their daughter's friend has been killed on her own doorstep, Maida
tells her husband, "They can't bury her at the cemetery." He asks why not,
and she nearly whispers, "It's full." Ms. Williams turns those simple
words into a chilling pronouncement.
SHOT THROUGH THE HEART HBO, Sunday night at 8
Written by Guy Hibbert and directed by David Attwood. Su Armstrong,
producer. An Alliance Communications/Company Pictures/ Transatlantic Media
Associates co-production in association with the BBC and LeFrak
Productions. Francine LeFrak and Robert Lantos, executive producers.
WITH: Linus Roache (Vlado), Vincent Perez (Slavko), Lia Williams (Maida)
and Karianne Henderson (Nadja).
October 3, 1998, Los Angeles Times, Saturday, Home Edition, Part F; Page 1; Entertainment Desk
HOWARD ROSENBERG / TELEVISION
THIS 'SHOT' OF SARAJEVO IS RIGHT ON TARGET
Perilously exposed in the open, a small boy lugs plastic bottles of
water beside his mother in besieged, surrounded, chaotic, war-ravaged
Sarajevo, where Serbs, Muslims and Croats once coexisted serenely.
Suddenly the bottles fly from his arms as he falls dead from a Bosnian
Serb sniper's bullet.
Then an older man.
Then a woman pushing a baby carriage.
Then another woman running toward her.
U.S. viewers watched similar sights on television newscasts from Sarajevo
and the fractious Balkans in the early 1990s. As then, however, this
carefully scoped-out slaughter of innocents remains so unthinkable, so
impossible to reconcile with any military objective, that it appears
almost surreal in HBO's "Shot Through the Heart." This production is for
anyone who's up for a bull's-eye of a small film that lifts the veil of
abstraction from victims of the bloody conflict fought among Bosnian
Serbs, Muslims and Croats.
Drawn from a Details magazine article by American journalist John Falk,
"Shot Through the Heart" is essentially a true story about two champion
marksmen and close friends from childhood who became enemies during this
war, even though there was no personal grievance between them. They were
just swept up.
Although a dramatist's dream come true, the scenario was nightmarish in
real life: one friend becoming a master sniper, the other an anti-sniper
stalking him and, in the HBO film, at least, ultimately facing a decision
a bit like the Polish mother in "Sophie's Choice" who was able to save her
son only by surrendering her daughter to Nazi murderers.
Directed by David Attwood without one false emotion, "Shot Through the
Heart" has the tone and pacing of a good independent theatrical feature,
affirming HBO as the creative soul of TV filmdom. Only its pay-cable
competitor Showtime is making movies that even approach HBO's vision,
quality and riskiness.
This one also has in its favor strong performances by a relatively
small-name cast and texture provided by filming in Budapest, with a
smaller amount in Sarajevo, where World War I began in 1914 and the Winter
Olympics were held 70 years later as an ironic feel good prologue to the
massacres there less than a decade later.
The movie's clear aggressors are the Bosnian Serbs--or Chetniks, as they
were called--even though vague references here allude to simmering hatreds
arising from past abuses of Serbs by Croats and Muslims.
Although "Shot Through the Heart" doesn't untangle the politics, its sad
and stunning human story is an eternal one about war that transcends
ethnic and national divisions as well as the Dayton, Ohio, peace agreement
signed by these combatants. That was in 1995.
Flashback to 1992, though, when Bosnian Serb leader Radavan Karadzic's
creation of a Serbian Republic of Bosnia ultimately becomes a crossroads
for Vladimir (Vlado) Sarzhinsky (Linus Roache) and Slavko Simic (Vincent
Perez), who are longtime dear friends and possibly the two best
sharpshooters in what until recently had been greater Yugoslavia. They
spent weekends and shot at a gun club together.
A Serb, ladies' man Slavko is called into the Bosnian Serb army and seems
to relish it. A prosperous businessman, the Polish Croatian Vlado remains
in Sarajevo with his Muslim wife, Maida (Lia Williams), and their young
daughter, becoming one of the city's defenders against the attacking
Now comes the sheer barbarism, with Bosnian Serb gunners shelling the
city, turning nearly every Sarajevo street into a combat zone, and
blasting Vlado and his family from their apartment.
Somewhere in the hills overlooking the city, meanwhile, Slavko is an
officer in charge of training Bosnian Serb snipers, and a cold-blooded
commander tells these agents of psychological warfare, many of whom will
be killing their former neighbors: "Men, women, children . . . you see a
target, you fire. Your job is to terrorize."
Like the Nazi commandant popping Jewish prisoners from afar for the sheer
sport of it in "Schindler's List," the Bosnian Serbs see dehumanized
abstractions through their scopes: A girl sits on her front stoop speaking
into her tape recorder. Then, just like that, she's dead, later to be
buried under the street because the cemeteries are full.
"This is war," says Slavko about pulling the trigger on women and children
going about their business.
"When he shot someone, joy spread across his face," the Falk article
quotes someone saying about Slavko.
Each time a sniper pulled a trigger, though, he potentially exposed
himself to an enemy sniper. And the anti-sniper Vlado's tracking of his
old friend--whom he suspects of terrorizing his own neighborhood--poses a
wrenching moral dilemma that Guy Hibbert's script resolves truthfully
while also taking significant liberties with the Falk article on which it
Sarajevo is again peaceful, Vlado told a July gathering of entertainment
writers in Los Angeles. "For the past two and three years, people are
coming back, and they are living together," he said. "They have to live
together. We have to live together."
The concept of living together is still not universally endorsed, however.
Hence, the action has moved elsewhere, with reports now surfacing about
ethnic Albanians--mostly women, children and elderly men--being massacred
by Serb forces in separatist Kosovo.
Reading this in the newspaper, you think about the hardening grind of war.
And you recall what Falk wrote about the lesson Vlado himself had learned
one evening after killing five Chetniks and not feeling much of anything
immediately afterward: "Killing is easy. You pull a trigger or stab with a
knife, and the other man stops moving. It's either you or him."
"Shot Through the Heart" can be seen at 8 p.m. Sunday and again at 10:15
p.m. Tuesday on HBO. The network has rated it TV-MA-LV (may be unsuitable
for children under the age of 17, with advisories for coarse language and
November 26, 1998, Post from talk.politics.guns newsgroup
Bosnian(?) teams of 3
people. One person had a high power rifle to shoot at the viewports of AFVs
to break/blind the driver, a second person equipped with an anti-tank weapon
(RPG) and finally a third with a medium machine gun to provide cover fire on
the retreat. A fairly high success
rate of these teams to do hit-and-run attacks that slowed down the column.
May, 1999, TRIAL OF DUSAN TADIC #2
Gunfire in the Morning
At 2:20 a.m. on April 17, 1992, Lukac was awakened by automatic gunfire. He
tried to investigate but his phone was cut off. He realized that the JNA and
the Serb paramilitary forces had taken Bosanski Samac. His own residence came
under sniper fire and he hid out with a neighbor. He tried to escape but was
arrested at a roadblock by a policeman wearing a beret and the Serbian
After several days in detention Lukac and about 50 other Croats and Muslims
were taken to a 12-by-6-foot room in the old weapon storage facility in
Bosanski Samac. Shortly after his internment a Serbian called "Luka" -- now
known to be Slobodan Milkovic, subsequently indicted by the Tribunal -- beat
the new arrivals, including Lukac, with a truncheon. Lukac testified that the
men were beaten regularly by their captors with rifle butts, metal pipes,
batons and military boots. When Lukac asked why, he was told he was a
Sometime after May 7 all but four prisoners were loaded on trucks to be taken
elsewhere. When Lukac inquired after the fate of the four left behind, he was
told that they were to be used for a prisoner exchange. Lukac later learned
that two of the men had been executed.
Testimony was only taken for half a day today because of a closed morning
session in which this trial chamber addressed matters concerning Zdravko Mucic.
Mucic is charged with offenses committed when he, Zejnil Delalic and Hazim
Delic held "positions of superior authority" in Celebici camp in central
Bosnia. Celebici was jointly administered by Muslims and Croats; its inmates
Today began on the same note that sounded yesterday's recess. Judge McDonald
pressed prosecutor Nieman to streamline his case. Nieman repeated his claim
that with his legal burden and the lack of precedent, he had to present all of
the proofs available. Apparently in an earlier letter to the Court he
identified 14 "policy" witnesses he intended to call, of a total of 88
"certain" witnesses. The "policy" in question is presumably ethnic cleansing.
Today we completed the testimony of two of those "policy" witnesses, Dragan
Lukac and Sulejman Tihic. Once again, the defendant was never mentioned, but
the prosecution moved ever closer to showing that this was an international
conflict and that there was a "systematic and widespread" assault on "protected
persons." The defense chose not to cross-examine either witness.
Word of Lukac's dramatic testimony had obviously reached the outside world --
the press corps quintupled overnight. Those who came hoping for a rerun of
yesterday's tale of murder, mayhem and carnage in northern Bosnia got their
The Lukac Saga Continues
Yesterday ended with Lukac telling how he and other prisoners were taken from
Bosanski Samac to Birtcko, another northern Bosnian town, in trucks on May 2.
From Birtcko they were transferred to Bjalina, a nearby military facility. When
they arrived they were confronted with two armored personnel carriers and two
tanks. One Muslim prisoner was singled out for no apparent reason and shot by
the tank's machine gun.
Lukac was then taken to the gym and beaten and kicked all day.
On May 3 Lukac and six other political prisoners at Bjalina were taken by
helicopter to a military facility outside of Belgrade, Serbia. (Also on the
helicopter: three prisoners from Bosanski Samac and a coffin draped with Serb
flags.) In prison cells there, the inmates were forced to stand from 5 a.m. to
10 p.m. They were also forced to sing Chetnik songs and kiss the picture of
Draza Mihailovic, a World War II Serbian hero. With considerable emotion Lukac
explained that he was forced to make the sign of the cross the Eastern Orthodox
way (with three fingers), rather than the full-hand method used by Roman
Lukac was returned from Serbia on May 23, where he was held in and about the
police station in Bosinski Samac until he was exchanged for Serbian prisoners
on September 4, 1992, in a location on the Zagreb-Belgrade motorway under the
supervision of ICRC and UNPROFOR. At the time of his release he was 55 pounds
lighter than his pre-detention weight, and he had sustained a fractured skull,
broken ribs and missing teeth.
Muslim and Croat Alike
The next witness on the stand was Sulejman Tihic, a Muslim lawyer and judge
from Bosanski Samac. He too saw the construction of a parallel Serbian security
structure in 1991 and early 1992. He also heard the sound of weapons at 2 a.m.
on April 17, 1992 and saw his town occupied by Serbian forces.
Tihic was slighter in build than Lukac and spoke with more emotion. But for
those and other minor differences in detail, his testimony and Lukac's were
Both frequently resorted to words like "indescribable" and "unspeakable," and
each said from time to time that what they had experienced could not be
envisioned by one who had not been present. Ironically, though they had to have
known each other before April 17 and appear to have taken the same helicopter
ride with the Serbian corpse from Bjalina to Serbia, neither mentioned the
other during testimony.
When firing began on April 17 Lukac joined a Muslim neighbor. One would think
that Tihic's luck would have been better since he sought sanctuary from a Serb
friend. However, after one day Tihic and his Serbian protector were arrested.
Tihic went to the same T.O. facility where he was also beaten by Luga (aka
Milkovic). Again, he and other prisoners were beaten badly and forced to sing
Chetnik songs. At one point Tihic thought he had arranged to purchase his
freedom for 20,000 Deutsch marks, but the money was taken and he remained a
Eventually Tihic too followed the trail to Birtcko. He later learned that the
troops there were prepared to beat his group as they alighted from their trucks
but decided that they looked too badly injured to beat, he said. Then they went
from Birtcko to Bjalina, where, upon disembarking, their captors "singled out
somebody and shot him." It is impossible to know whether this is the same
individual about whom Lukac testified or whether it was standard operating
procedure to shoot one prisoner from every lot on arrival.
At Bjalina, where Tihic stayed for six days, he was beaten. Tihic was also
forced to clean toilets with this hands. Despite the lack of detergent he was
required to get the toilets white in order to avoid more beatings.
From Bjalina to Serbia outside Belgrade he was taken by the helicopter. There
he stood from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and sang "Chetnik songs and kiss[ed] the
picture of Draza Mihailovic, a World War II Serbian hero." He was also beaten
until his urine turned red and was forced to beat other prisoners as they were
forced to beat him. He saw an American and Croatian prisoner there who were
beaten badly and forced to "take their penises in each other's mouths." He saw
another man who had apparently shot several Serbs endure an "unimaginable
beating." Then "Judge Tihic" was forced to "sentence" the man, after which the
man was shot.
Tihic was also forced to lie to ICRC representatives (when they weren't being
watched by guards they were vulnerable to informers). The captors used electric
batons -- possibly cattle prods -- to persuade Tihic and Ized Izetbegovic, a
cousin of Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic, to make propaganda videotapes
for the Serbs to give to the BBC. His injuries on release were similar to
Lukac's. En route to the prisoner exchange which resulted in Tihic's freedom,
the bus would stop periodically to allow Serb JNA personnel to get on and beat
Sept 12, 2000
Bosnian Muslim Intelligence Targeted Sarajevo Civilians, Operative Admits
Foreign Affairs Front Page News Keywords: BOSNIA SARAJEVO REAL MASSACRES
Interview: Edin Garaplija
Seve practiced by Shooting Civilians in Sarajevo
By Ante Suljak
Following orders of the AID director, Kemal Ademovic,
Edin Garaplija, an agent of the Bosniak intelligence
arrested Nedzad Herenda, one of the most active
members of Seve [seva means lark], a notorious
paramilitary unit, with the
goal of getting a confession about the activities of
the unit from him. By the way, Seve were acting under
the auspices of the
top Bosniak political leadership.
SD: Several days after the arrest, Herenda was found
alive. Did he managed to escape?
GARAPLIJA: At one moment Herenda managed to get away.
The agents who were guarding him were overworked and
You see, Herenda had been watched for a month. Then
after the arrest he was processed for three days,
meaning that we were
getting his statement. That was according to the law
that was in force at the time. At one point Herenda
used the agent's lack
of attention and tried to get his weapon. He attacked
the agent, they pushed each other and the gun held by
the agent fired. The
bullet hit Herenda in the leg.
Body on the Road
At that time I had a meeting with Ademovic. I got a
coded message to urgently return to the base. When I
returned they told
me that Herenda had been lightly wounded in the leg
and that they had given him first aid, bandaged his
wound and stopped
the bleeding. They asked me what to do next. I
informed my superiors, Ademovic and Masic, who was in
coordination, and they suggested that Herenda be
What do you mean "removed"? Were they saying that he
should be killed? What did you do with him?
At one moment Herenda fainted, probably as a
consequence of his wound, as well as psychosis and
fear inherent in the
situation. We sort of panicked. Some of us thought
that he had died. Masic claimed that Herenda was dead
and that we should
dispose of his body, although I tried to convince him
that Herenda was alive and that he should be urgently
taken to a hospital.
What did you decide in the end?
Since Masic insisted that Herenda was dead, we left
his body next to a road...
However, according to a different version of that
event, Herenda was found tied up inside a bag, with
bullet wounds on
his head and leg, but still alive... It was claimed at
the time that he survived an execution by chance?
Herenda did not have a bullet wound in his head, but
only a scratch. Later he claimed that he had been
thrown in a manhole.
However, all facts from the field indicate that he
could not have been thrown in a manhole because of its
Therefore, many facts, that were later established by
a court, indicate that Herenda was lying, that he
fabricated his story. Even
the court appointed expert concluded that his wounds
were not life threatening. What is beyond doubt is
that Herenda had
been left next to a road where, according to the
witnesses, he was also later found.
Where is Herenda now?
There are three versions regarding his fate. According
to one version, people who had issued orders for his
crimes and the
crimes of the Seva group moved him to Australia. The
second version is that he was executed later in order
to stop the further
spreading of the whole case, and according to the
third version Herenda is under watch of the
investigators of the Hague
Tribunal who are preparing an indictment for the
committed crimes. The third option is the one closest
to the truth.
How much did you manage to find out from Herenda? Were
you satisfied with the information you got out of him?
It is difficult to talk about any satisfaction in this
case. I was very disturbed by the information we got
from Herenda... The
facts and his testimony about them, it was outrageous.
Did he reveal the chain of command that controlled
He said that the chain of command always went in the
direction of Ugljen, Alispahic, Dautbasic, and all the
way to the top
political leadership including Izetbegovic. Since we
are discussing these facts, not only did we find out
everything we were
looking for but in some cases Herenda provided so much
detail that he said some horrific things.
What in particular?
For example, at one moment he talked about the
training they received in Metkovic. Later they went to
the Pogorelice camp
[near Fojnica], after which, according to Herenda,
they regularly practiced sharp shooting. "Herenda. How
did you practice
that?" I asked him and he replied that they would
climb hilltops or building tops and then shoot at
Serbs in Grbavica. "How
did you pick your targets?" We would shoot at anyone,
said Herenda. For example, they would pick out a
woman, an elderly
woman and then they would shoot at her. One of them
would follow her movement and the other one shoot.
When I asked him
how he could be certain that the woman was not for
example a Bosniak woman who by chance stayed in
Grbavica, he replied
that they watched for that. For example they made sure
that their targets were wearing black [custom among
women in rural areas of Bosnia and elsewhere in the
Balkans]. That indicates Herenda's truly criminal
These sharp shooters... Were they professionals,
people from abroad?
They had several trained sharp shooters from outside,
while others went through training and practiced in
described by Herenda. Therefore they did not care
whether they were shooting civilians, women, children,
elderly... They did
not care whether there would be a reaction to their
Perhaps, that was their intention after all?
It must have been, but hopefully someone will ask
Herenda about that too. Whether that was their goal or
whether they were
ordered to exact revenge...
According to the information you obtained during the
questioning, did Herenda and Seve perhaps participate
massacre of twelve captured civilians and soldiers in
1992 in front of the Police headquarters in Sarajevo?
Not only was he there but he bloodied his hands.
Namely, that group of civilians and prisoners of war
had been brought in
front of the Police Headquarters. The then commander
of the special police unit Dragan Vikic recently
testified about that
event on TV OBN. Vikic claimed that at one moment he
had heard several bursts of fire from a machine gun.
When he went to
check what was going on he was told that all the
prisoners had been killed. Herenda confessed to us
that he had killed the
prisoners. He told us the details and said: "Yes, I
shot at them. When they fell, I pulled out a handgun.
With the handgun I
'confirmed' all of them one more time." Afterwards, he
was given the task to remove and burn the bodies in
order to hide the
When we asked him why he had done that, his defense
was that the victims were Chetniks [derogatory term
for Serbs]. As if
they were not human, as far as Herenda was concerned.
As if he shot at twelve boxes, rather than twelve
persons, tied up and
unarmed. Herenda also said that Ugljen had ordered him
to kill those prisoners. However, it is worrisome that
no one in the
judiciary has so far initiated an investigation in
that war crime, although Vikic claims that immediately
after the crime he
informed the then Minsiter of Internal Affairs, Jusuf
Pusina, and requested that Herenda be arrested and
tried. However, no
one has ever investigated Herenda and his superiors.
A French peace forces member was killed at the time
with a sniper bullet. Are Seve behind that murder?
Yes, they are... The unofficial information was that
an investigation of that murder had been opened. The
murder took place in
the center of Sarajevo, next to the building of the
Executive Council, and there was a well founded
suspicion that the murder
had been carried out by Seve. Herenda confirmed that
in a part of his statement. According to him, the
French soldier was
murdered in an attempt to accuse Serbs for the crime.
However, investigators who worked on that crime
out that the bullet could not have come from the Serb
positions in Grbavica, as was claimed in the public.
The whole case
caused quite a stir but Delic, Dautbasic, Mujezinovic,
and Ugljen tried to hush everything down and were
largely successful in
Who murdered the young couple, a Muslim woman and a
Serb man, on one bridge in Sarajevo, on the line of
separation? That crime outraged the whole world and
Serbs were blamed for it.
That is not true. This was perfidious propaganda of
the people who gave orders to Seve. Herenda was
specific in connection
with that crime in his statement and stated that the
couple had been murdered by Dragan Bozic from a sniper
even described the spot from which Bozic killed them.
Sept 30, 2001
From rec.aviation.military Newsgroup
There have been exceptions to the "No SA-80 rule":
SAS operated in Bosnia under the cover of UKLO (United Kingdom Liaison
Officers), which was under the direct command of General Mike Rose. As
Cameron Spence stated "It didn't take a rocket scientist, of course, to
conclude that the UKLO was not a regular unit." To help them blend in they
were kitted out with SA-80 (L85A1), rather than their more obvious Gucci
type weapons. Cameron Spence recounts in his book "All Necessary Measures"
that one of his SAS mates used his L85A1, fitted with a KITE site, to scare
the life out of a Croat sniper who regularly took pot shots at UN vehicles.
Using their UN Land Rover as bait the sniper couldn't resist and loosed a
round off which hit the road in front of the vehicle. Spence's mate, who had
earlier worked himself into a piece of dead ground, put a round into the
brickwork immediately behind the sniper. Spence wrote "The sniper got to his
feet in a mad panic and started to leg it to safety. As he ran past the next
shell hole, Keith, still concealed in his dead ground, sent another round
thumping into the brickwork behind him. The sniper reacted as if he'd been
stung by a Hornet; stumbling, falling, picking himself up and running to the
next shelter. As he headed blindly past on last piece of exposed wall, Keith
anticipated his trajectory and sent a final round crashing into the ceiling,
bringing a cascade of plaster on our man as he barrelled past."