August 7, 1995 -- 11:30 a.m. EDT
From Correspondent Peter Arnett
PRIJEDOR, Bosnia (CNN) -- They're still pouring into Bosnia from Krajina: scores of thousands of Serb refugees fleeing Croat forces. They plug the roadways -- riding on tractors, buses, overloaded cars and trucks. And Bosnian Serb officials say their resources are hopelessly overwhelmed by the needs of these new inhabitants.
Most of the Serb population of the Krajina region of Croatia is expected to move into Bosnia and into neighboring Serbia - - maybe as many as a quarter of a million people. According to the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, this is the largest single exodus of the Bosnian war -- a war that has seen many.
Most of the people are being processed in the western Bosnian city of Banja Luka -- a garrison town, and the largest city in Serb-controlled territory. Many refugees are bitter at their own officials and their allies in Bosnia and Serbia.
Why did Croat forces have such a quick victory? A senior Krajina Serb army officer said his forces had little choice but retreat from the invading Croats. Colonel Costa Novakavich, the Deputy Army Commander, claimed in an interview in Banja Luka that even NATO aircraft took the Croat side, destroying an anti-aircraft emplacement near Knin and killing all the crew and nearby civilians, while allowing Croat aircraft to bomb Krajina positions at will.
The colonel also charged that victorious Croat forces achieved their victories at the expensse of the Krajina people -- deliberatley targeting the civilian population with heavy artillery in a plan to ethnically cleanse the Serb population. He asserted that many civilians died in the shelling of Knin and other cities -- shellings which forced the Krajina army to order a strategic retreat to shield the population from complete destruction. He asserted that even in retreat the civilians were unmercifully shelled.
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