By MICHAEL RAGATOWSKI, Associated Press ReporterBELGRADE, Bosnia and Herzegovina (AP) In the face of a resurgent Bosnian Serb army, the Bosnian government is slowly building up its defences against an increasingly well-armed and well-organized foe.
Bosnia’s president said Monday he was confident his country was “in a position to defend” the country and was “ready to defend itself” against a resurgenting Bosnian army that has seized more than a quarter of Bosnia’s territory in a year of war.
The new government, which took power last week after winning an election last month, says it has taken the necessary steps to prevent another war in the Balkans.
The Bosnian president, Milorad Dodik, has said the army is targeting civilians and that the army “is attacking our institutions.”
The Bosniak army seized control of more than 80 percent of Bosnia in September, saying the Serbs are waging a war against Muslims and Christians.
Dodik has warned the Bosnians will not back down, saying he will defend their rights.
The president also announced the deployment of an armored unit to protect the country’s capital of Sarajevo.
The United Nations said Tuesday that at least 8,000 Bosnaks have been killed since the war broke out, and the International Organization for Migration says the death toll is rising.
It is also estimated that as many as 2.5 million people are trapped in war-torn areas in the north of the country, where Bosnak refugees from neighboring Serbia and Bosnia live in camps.
The U.N. has estimated that nearly two-thirds of the nation’s 2.4 million people have fled the conflict, while a further 2.1 million are living in refugee camps.