The Evening Standard 13-11-1991 16-04-1992
'The Dedakovic Mystery' 13-11-91 and 'Killed For A Price' 16-04-1992.
By Christopher Long for The London Evening Standard.
Unconfirmed reports today from Zagreb say that the Croatian government has taken out a contract on the life of Colonel Mile Dedakovic, commander-in-chief of Croatian troops in Vinkovci, Eastern Slavonia.
Dedakovic, a Croat who formerly served as a colonel in the Federal Army and is known as 'Jastreb' The Hawk is believed to be continuing to resist the Serbian controlled Federal Army against the wishes of the Croatian government, despite previous failed attempts by the Croatian military police to arrest him.
The bizarre allegation that the Croatian government may be seeking the arrest or the head of its own commander-in-the-field, regarded by many as a national hero, comes from leaked reports from Croatian television journalists at the front.
They say their reports from the battle-field have been drastically censored for the past six or seven days and that the town of Bogdanovci has already fallen to the Serbian army but was not reported in Croatia.
Furthermore, journalists from the state-controlled television service and from the independent newspaper Globus say that $5 million worth of arms which had been promised to Croats defending Vukovar, Vinkovci and Nustar have 'disappeared'.
Informed sources believe that the Croatian government may have 'written-off' the eastern battle zone and that a behind-the-scenes deal (between Tudjman and Milosevic) may be threatened by continuing resistance in the already pulverised towns of Vukovar and Vinkovci.
Reports from the Bosnian capital Sarajevo claim that captured pro-Serbian snipers, picking off victims from taller buildings in the city, may have been offered DM500 (£166) per victim killed. The claim, made by Sarajevo TV, which is not always reliable, is nevertheless believed to be true by more reliable sources.
Unconfirmed reports from the International Peace Centre in Sarajevo, made during a lull in fighting today during the visit of US peace broker Cyrus Vance, also claims sustained artillery shelling from JNA and Serbian militia positions in the hills surrounding southern parts of the city (as well as tank concentrations) destroyed homes and shortly after midnight a second bombardment damaged the main electric power installation.
The International Peace Centre, which claims to include and represent Croats and Muslims among the very mixed ethic and religious population, claims that three of its members were trapped in their offices by cross-fire which severely wounded a woman at their front entrance and a young man playing basket-ball in a nearby playground.
"I can only tell you what the casualties are around us not throughout the city or the rest of the country. The situation is chaotic and reliable information is hard to get," says Peace Centre spokesman Goran Djapic. "We estimate that Mr Vance's visit has given us just one day without firing. He should stay as long as possible because we fear what is coming after his departure."
Meanwhile the city is preparing itself for fresh attacks from Serbian positions outside the city and from snipers inside.
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