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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tensions Flare As Moslems Return Home

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- Gunfire and explosions were heard early Tuesday around a Bosnian village, a day after a group of Bosnian Moslems moved into the Serb-held area, eager to get home before winter.


A Dutch UN police officer was accidentally shot by a Serb policeman Monday when the standoff began earlier that day as scores of Moslem refugees from Koraj -- a predominantly Moslem town before the war but now in the Serb half of Bosnia -- entered Gajevi, a suburb of the town. Serb police were present in Koraj and shots were fired, but it was not clear by whom, NATO officials said.


There was confusion about what was going on Tuesday as well.


"It's a little unclear what exactly is happening, but our soldiers are in the process of assisting in the restoration of peace,'' said Major Brett Boudreau, a NATO spokesman.


Russian troops, backed by U.S. helicopters, were at the scene Tuesday. Boudreau described the actions of the Moslem refugees as "deliberate provocation in the manner they went there.''


He said the decision to enter Gajevi in larger numbers was "evidently designed to provoke a reaction'' from Bosnian Serb police, who took up positions around the village.


The Serbs issued an ultimatum for the Moslems to pull out, but the deadline appeared to have been ignored.


The NATO-led force responded by deploying Russian soldiers and NATO spokespersons said two Apache helicopters prepared to fire warning shots if the Serbs entered the demilitarized zone.