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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tension High in Sarajevo's Olympic Village

SARAJEVO -- Residents of a tense Sarajevo neighborhood waited anxiously Thursday for word from Bosnian officials meeting to decide the final boundary between Serb and Moslem-Croat territory in their area.


Talks were held as rebel Serbs in an area of eastern Croatia being returned to Zagreb's rule mobbed the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright, and stoned her motorcade.


A dividing line agreed at the Dayton peace conference last November runs through portions of the former Olympic village of Dobrinja near Sarajevo's airport, bisecting some apartment blocks and possibly even some apartments.


Four men were wounded when they triggered a mine along the former front line in the disputed area Thursday, but it was not immediately clear if the incident had anything to do with rising tensions in the area. UN police had said that a car exploded on the Serb side of the line in Dobrinja on Tuesday, killing its occupant. The cause of the explosion was unknown, but it came amid reports of gunfire in the same area on the same day.


Both the unarmed UN police and NATO stepped up their presence in disputed parts of Dobrinja in an effort to ensure that residents remained calm and peaceful.


"Because of rising tensions and the increased possibility of violence there [in Dobrinja] ... we now have 48 monitors in the area, together with [NATO]," UN police spokesman Alexander Ivanko told reporters in Sarajevo on Thursday.


Ivanko said the UN police commissioner had ordered Serb and federation police not to enter buildings on the boundary line in Dobrinja or patrol within 100 meters of those buildings until the location of the line was finalized.


Officials from Bosnia's Serb republic and its Moslem-Croat federation met Thursday under NATO sponsorship to try to adjust the location of the dividing line by mutual agreement.


Dobrinja is only one of about 450 areas in Bosnia where the "inter-entity boundary line" is disputed. But NATO sources report it is the most intractable of the boundary issues and is holding up agreement on the rest of the package.


Moslems and Serbs in affected parts of Dobrinja have been waiting for weeks for final word on the dividing line because for most it will determine where they can live. Moslems driven from their homes in the disputed area at the beginning of the Bosnian war are keen to move back.


Many Serb refugees who moved into the district recently insist they would rather fight than be displaced again.


That Dobrinja and the other boundary line disputes were being sorted out around a conference table rather than on the battlefield shows the success of the Dayton peace process in its first three months of implementation. With the handover of five Sarajevo suburbs from Serb to Moslem-Croat control now complete the Bosnian capital has been reunified, an important first step towards reintegrating the entire country.