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Tuesday, August 18, 1998 Published at 01:29 GMT 02:29 UK

World: Europe

Dutch ask: 'Did UN troops kill Bosnians?'

Dutch troops are alleged to have added to the carnage in Bosnia

The Dutch Government has ordered a judicial inquiry into allegations that Dutch troops, on United Nations peacekeeping duties, deliberately drove an armoured car into a crowd of Bosnian Muslims killing about 30 people.

The Dutch Defence Minister, Frank de Grave, ordered the investigation after Dutch television news broadcast a report about the alleged incident.

The deaths are said to have taken place in July 1995 after Bosnian Serbs captured the eastern Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica.

The area had been designated a "safe haven" by the UN in a failed attempt to provide refugees with a sanctuary from the Bosnian civil war.

The Dutch TV report quoted an unnamed defence source as saying that the armoured car was travelling from the village of Jaglici, north of Srebrenica, towards its base at Potocari when it was halted by a group of fleeing Bosnian Muslims who were armed.

The source said that when the Bosnians refused to move the Dutch commander ordered his men to drive through the crowd, killing about 30 people as a result.

Mr De Grave said: "I have ordered a judicial inquiry into this terrible situation."

Muslims Massacred

The latest allegations follow accusations that Dutch peacekeepers helped Bosnian Serbs separate Muslim men from women and children after the fall of Srebrenica.

[ image: Thousands of bodies have been found in unmarked graves]
Thousands of bodies have been found in unmarked graves
Human rights groups believe that Serb forces led by General Ratko Mladic then marched away and killed more than 7,000 captured Muslim men in the single worst atrocity of the Bosnian war. Despite the discovery of mass graves thousands of the disappeared men remain unaccounted for.

The International Court of Justice in the Hague has accused General Mladic and the Bosnian Serb leader of genocide. Both men have refused to surrender to the UN for trial.

Dutch officials are investigating accusations that the military intentionally destroyed film showing its soldiers helping the Serbs separate the Muslims.

The Defence Ministry has said the film was destroyed accidentally during processing, a claim disputed by the peacekeeper who took the pictures.

Senior military officers also have denied any conspiracy of a cover-up.

Last week the war crimes tribunal in the Hague released a 1995 report absolving Dutch troops of any complicity in war crimes in Bosnia.

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