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Bosnian Muslims Threaten To Rearm To Reclaim Their Homes

Angry Muslims massed by the hundreds Wednesday at a checkpoint barring them from a Serb-held village, threatening more violence in a week that’s seen the worst fighting since the Bosnian war ended.

Cursing and waving banners, the Muslims threatened to rearm to reclaim former homes now in Serb territory. Asked what would happen if the Muslims are not allowed back, demonstrator Ismet Mujidzic replied: “Then we’ll have another war.”

International mediators in Bosnia cited the renewed violence in announcing they were suspending their refugee resettlement program in the zone of separation, a 2-1/2-mile-wide demilitarized band that separates former warring factions.

Randolph Ryan, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said the decision puts the entire Bosnian refugee program “in deep, deep, deep trouble.”

The suspension came after fighting erupted Tuesday in the village of Gajevi in the demilitarized zone. Bosnian Serbs and Muslims battled with automatic weapons and rifle-propelled grenades, killing one Muslim, dispersing only when U.S. troops arrived in heavy armor.

An estimated 800 Muslims gathered Wednesday at a checkpoint of the NATO-led peace force outside nearby Celic, raising the prospect of a second day of violence.