Bosnian Serb leaders, playing to the fears of Sarajevo's Serbs, ordered them Tuesday to leave all neighborhoods that are to be handed over to the Muslim-led government.
Dozens of trucks and cars towing trailers drove out of Serb areas, but no buses were spotted in the hours after the organized exodus was to begin. Heavy snow fell, perhaps hampering the Serb plans.In the northern district of Vogosca, Serbs removed piles of documents from the town hall and set them ablaze outside. Workers stripped the building of anything of value, down to doors and old chairs.
The Serb order was a blatant challenge to the spirit of Bosnia's peace accord. A wholesale evacuation would be one of the final chapters in a war waged solely to create ethnically homogenous areas through huge shifts of civilians.
Bosnian Serbs vehemently oppose the provision in the peace accord that reunites the country's symbolic heart, Sarajevo, under the rule of their former foes by March 19. NATO plans to begin a gradual transfer on Friday.
Kris Janowski, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, accused Bosnian Serb leaders of trying to trigger a mass flight from Sarajevo for their own ends.
Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serbs' political leader and a prewar inhabitant of the city, has always asserted Serbs could not coexist with other ethnic groups in the capital.
In another bitterly divided city, Mostar, barriers fell Tuesday - but for only one hour. At noon Tuesday, Croats and Muslims were to try to smother animosities lingering from their yearlong war in 1993 and allow free movement in the city and establish joint police patrols.
About 300 Muslims did cross over to Croat-held areas in the first hour. The free movement fell apart after four young Muslims crossed in a car, angering Croats who only want people to cross on foot.