The Muslim-Croat Civil War in Central Bosnia: A Military History, 1992-1994

By Charles R. Shrader | Go to book overview

9 The Continuation of the
Muslim Offensive, May–June, 1993

Having failed to eliminate the HVO defenders and seize the core Croat enclaves in Central Bosnia by direct assault in April 1993, the ABiH regrouped in May and in June began a sustained campaign to reduce the Croat strongholds by attacking key points on their periphery. In turn, the Muslims took Travnik, most of the Novi Travnik municipality, Kakanj, Fojnica, and other Croat territory in Central Bosnia as well as Bugojno, Gornji Vakuf, Konjic, and Jablanica on the southern periphery. In the process more than 100,000 Bosnian Croats were expelled from their homes.1


The April, 1993, Cease-Fire

The temporary cease-fire in the Lasva Valley area brokered by Maj. Bryan Watters, second-in-command of the British UNPROFOR battalion at Stari Bila, on April 16 and agreed to by the HVO and ABiH commanders the following day, was a fragile reed and did little to stop the fighting in the area. However, pursuant to the military provisions of the Vance-Owen Peace Plan signed on March 3, 1993, RBiH president Alija Izetbegovic and Mate Boban, the leader of the Bosnian Croat community, signed an agreement in Zagreb on April 18 that called for an immediate cessation of all MuslimCroat fighting; the exchange of prisoners and detainees; proper care of the wounded; the investigation of related crimes; and the reestablishment of communications between ABiH and HVO authorities. The BobanIzetbegovic agreement also called for the return of all HVO and ABiH military and police forces to their “home” provinces; control over all forces in the proposed VOPP Provinces 1, 5, and 9 by the ABiH Main Staff and in the proposed VOPP Provinces 3, 8, and 10 by the HVO Main Staff; and the establishment of an ABiH-HVO joint command.2

At noon on April 21, the HVO and ABiH chiefs of staff (Milijov Petkovic and Sefer Halilovic, respectively) met at the ECMM office in Novi Bila to discuss the implementation of the Boban-Izetbegovic cease-fire agreement. European Community ambassador Jean-Pierre Thebault presided over the discussions. Although punctuated by bitter charges and countercharges by both sides regarding violations of the existing cease-fire arrangements, the meeting resulted in an agreement for an immediate cessation of combat activities; the separation of forces and insertion of UNPROFOR monitoring elements between them; unhindered patrolling by UNPROFOR units between Kiseljak and Travnik; full guarantees for the Muslims besieged in

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