[This was the first international news report about Bosnian army troops having escaped from Srebrenica. About the same time, I got direct confirmation about this group from a ICRC delegate in the so-called ‘Sapna Thumb’. He spoke of ‘a few thousand soldiers’ and added the Bosnian authorities didn’t allow him to talk with them, HdV]
Michael Evans, and Michael Kallenbach in Bonn
Thousands of the “missing” Bosnian Muslim soldiers from Srebrenica who have been at the centre of reports of possible mass executions by the Serbs, are believed to be safe to the northeast of Tuzla. Monitoring the safe escape of Muslim soldiers and civilians from the captured enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa has proved a nightmare for the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. For the first time yesterday, however, the Red Cross in Geneva said it had heard from sources i n Bosnia that up to 2,000 Bosnian Government troops were in an area north of Tuzla.
They had made their way there from Srebrenica”without their families being informed”, a spokesman said, adding that it had not been possible to verify the reports because the Bosnian Government refused to allow the Red Cross into the area.
Although the Red Cross refused to speculate why the Bosnian Government was keeping secret the presence of the Srebrenica troops near Tuzla, it probably is doing so for military reasons.
In Germany the Government is embroiled in a bitter wrangle about whether to take in any more Bosnian refugees. The controversy began after, Manfred Kanther, the Interior Minister, suggested that the country should end its policy of giving shelter to refugees from former Yugoslavia. There was, he said. a limit to German generosity.
As the dispute has intensified, there have been outspoken attacks on France for not helping to ease the situation. There was, however no criticism of Britain, which is sheltering about 2,000 refugees. In London, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees appealed to 30 Western governments to find places for 5,000 Bosnian refugees immediately and issued a warning that up to 50,000 places might be needed soon if the situation in the former Yugoslavia were to deteriorate further.
(The Times, 2 August 1995 )