ZEPA ENCLAVE, SERB ORDER TO ANNIHILATE 40,000 BOSNIAKS
Intercepted Order to Kill 40,000 Bosniaks
in the Enclave of Zepa
Serbs Torch Refugee Enclave
The Bulletin, front page.
4 May 1993.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — An eastern Bosnian town was reported ablaze today from a heavy Serbian artillery attack, two days after Bosnia’s Serb leader signed a U.N.-backed peace plan.
Bosnia’s U.N. ambassador said dozens of people were killed or wounded in the assault on Zepa. In a letter to the Security Council, Muhammed Sacirbey called for U.N. soldiers to protect the area: “Those capable are trying to escape. Nobody is helping the sick and wounded. Literally, everything is on fire.”
The Bosniak-led Bosnian Foreign Ministry also appealed for international protection of the 40,000 people, mostly refugees, who have sought protection in Zepa from advancing Serbian rebels.
The Bosnian Foreign Ministry claimed to have intercepted orders given by an unidentified Serb commander that quoted him as saying:
“ZEPA IS TO BE BURNED DOWN, THE SOONER AND BETTER. ALL THAT IS STILL ALIVE (IS) TO BE KILLED REGARDLESS OF OUR LOSSES.”
“THE INFANTRY MUST BREAK THROUGH INTO ZEPA. THIS MUST BE COMPLETED BEFORE (U.N. PEACEKEEPERS) ARRIVE AND THE WORLD PUBLIC HEARS ABOUT IT.”
The Foreign Ministry appealed in its statement for help to the United Nations and the United States, which along with Western allies in NATO has contingency plans calling for the deployment of 65,000 to 75,000 peacekeeping troops in Bosnia.
Besides Srebrenica, where a cease-fire has prevented Serbs from overrunning an enclave sheltering tens of thousands of refugees, Zepa and Gorazde are the only Bosniak enclaves in eastern Bosnia that have not been captured.
“Despite having signed the peace plan, this morning the aggressor forces have continued with even more ferocious aggression in the Zepa region,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement addressed to the U.N. Security Council and the U.S. State Department.
“On May 4, 1993, at 5 a.m., the Zepa municipal area was attacked by very strong armored mechanized Chetnik (rebel Serb) units,” it said.
“We are appealing to the international community to undertake urgent steps to stop the aggression immediately and protect the civilian population.”
“They are totally alone. No U.N., no UNHCR (U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees), no Red Cross, no one is there. The whole place is burning,” said Fadil Heljic, a ham radio operator in Sarajevo.