Nearly 1,000 refugees tried again Tuesday to escape the horrors of Sarajevo in a convoy frustrated for nearly a year by fighting and bureaucracy.

There were no guarantees that the convoy, most recently canceled after a false start a month ago, would be allowed to leave the besieged city.But Sarajevo radio advised the would-be evacuees - women, children and elderly people - to gather at the city bus station. Most are Muslim, but there are some Croats and Serbs as well.

Also Tuesday, U.N. peacekeepers said they were investigating Croat charges of a massacre and other atrocities by Muslim-led government forces near Vitez in central Bosnia. A local government commander denied the allegations, a U.N. spokesman said.

In Sarajevo, refugees were awaiting 15 buses that were to carry 800 of them west to the port of Split in Croatia. From there, they were to go to third countries or other points in Croatia.

Buses were to take 150 others to Serbia or Serb-held territory in Bosnia.

U.N. relief spokesman Ray Wilkinson said the buses had not arrived by midmorning.

The same group had gathered at the bus depot a month ago, saying tearful goodbyes to relatives. But they soon returned home after Bosnian Croats said they could not provide buses as promised earlier.

U.N. officials said the Croats apparently tried to use the evacuation as leverage to free some of their military commanders held by the government.

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The convoy is part of an evacuation program relief officials began organizing a year ago.

Commandant Idesbald van Biesebroeck, a spokesman for U.N. forces in Sarajevo, said British peacekeepers based at Vitez were trying to investigate claims of a massacre in nearby Dubravica, where 53 people were reported missing.

Croats accused government troops of hanging and crucifying some civilians. The area has been hotly contested for months by government and Croat forces.

Van Biesebroeck said U.N. troops also were trying to check reports that the government had poisoned a reservoir near Gornji Vakuf, another central Bosnian town, and killed a captured Bosnian Croat soldier with an ax.

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