Bosnia angry with U.N. over attacks Bitterness directed at U.N. commander

January 10, 1993|By New York Times News Service

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- As crowds of angr Bosnians demonstrated in the streets, leaders of the Muslim-led Bosnian government yesterday accused United Nations military commanders of failing to protect them from Serbian attacks, including the murder Friday of one of Bosnia's deputy prime ministers.

The anger of the Bosnians was directed largely at Gen. Philippe Morillon, the U.N. military commander. Demonstrators outside the U.N. headquarters carried placards saying, "Morillon is a killer," "Morillon, you are guilty for everything" and "UNPROFOR, we don't want you here." UNPROFOR is the acronym for the U.N. Protection Force, the world body's force in Balkans.

In a statement, the Bosnian government accused General Morillon not only of failing to protect Hakija Turajlic, who was fatally shot by a Serbian gunman while under U.N. protection, but also of attempting to cover up the events that led to the killing.

The slaying of Mr. Turajlic, one of three deputy prime ministers in the Bosnian government, occurred Friday night after Serbian nationalist troops besieging Sarajevo halted a U.N. armored vehicle that was carrying him from Sarajevo airport into the city.

The vehicle was painted white and bore the blue U.N. flag.

Much of the bitterness of the Bosnian government focused on the fact that a Serbian soldier somehow managed to fire at Mr. Turajlic through the open rear door.

The episode appeared to demonstrate more than any recent occurrence the weakness of U.N. authority in the Balkan war.

General Morillon admitted yesterday that it also exposed major weaknesses in the U.N.'s procedures. He called the event "a tragedy of errors" committed by the French soldiers on the scene.

At an emotional news conference, General Morillon said that soldiers serving with the 7,500-man U.N. force had erred particularly in opening the rear door of the vehicle.

General Morillon, who described the killing as "the worst blow of my career," warned that it could prove to be the prelude to a still greater tragedy if what he called the "madness" of Bosnia spiraled out of control and provoked a new and still more brutal chapter in the nine-month-old war.

General Morillon spoke as thousands of people gathered outside a 16th-century mosque in the center of Sarajevo for the funeral of Mr. Turajlic.

On a thickly misted day, mourners outside the Ali Pasina mosque were given a respite from the Serbian sniper fire that usually makes the mosque and the grounds around it a danger zone.

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