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Yugoslavia: Muslims and Serbs Destroy Abandoned Homes in NW Bosnia

Sarajevo, 25 October 1996 (RFE/RL) - United Nations International Police Force spokesman Patrik Svensson said today about 90 Muslim homes in several villages just south of Prijedor in the western part of the Bosnian Serb republic were destroyed yesterday by fire and explosives.

IFOR spokesman Major Simon Haselock said an additional 30 homes just across the interentity boundary line in Sanski Most in the Muslim-Croat federation were also destroyed by what he said appears to be retaliatory explosions. Haselock, speaking in Sarajevo today, said anti-tank mines were used to reduce the abandoned homes to ruble.

Tension over the return of Muslims to their former homes in Serb controlled areas has flared in several spots in recent months. The use by displaced persons of a newly established UN-sponsored bus line between Prijedor and Sanski Most sparked several incidents early this week that led IFOR to close the road to inter-entity traffic.

Patrols by IFOR's Czech contingent have recorded a series of explosions in Bosnian-Serb controlled areas earmarked for possible returns by Muslim refugees.

Haselock condemned the blasts, saying "using mines to blow up shells of houses that people might fix up and move into is clearly designed to keep fear alive and intimidate displaced people who might have wished to return."