The ABiH Attacks in the Kiseljak FojnicaKresevo Area

Another important objective of the Muslim attackers in January, 1993, was to gain control of the Fojnica junction on the Busovaca-Kiseljak road near Gomionica in order to control access southward to the town of Fojnica, another important Croat stronghold. The Kiseljak-Fojnica-Kresevo area had long been surrounded by ABiH and Territorial Defense forces, and as early as August, 1992, the Muslim-dominated TO staff in Kiseljak had issued instructions for local TO units to prepare for a conflict with the HVO.18 The Muslim's probing attack began in the Kiseljak area at about 6 a.m. on January 25 with a random artillery/mortar attack. The HVO defenders occupied defensive positions wherever they could, having not prepared any positions in advance. The Muslim forces, including Muslim military police elements, attacked from northeast to southwest across the Busovaca-Kiseljak road, but were stopped by an HVO force consisting of two battalions from the Ban Jelacic Brigade led by an acting commander named Zamenic, reinforced by a company of the HVO 4th Military Police Battalion. Many were wounded during the daylong clash, which ended at about 7 or 8 p.m. The HVO troops were able to improve their positions overnight and counterattacked on January 27, digging in at the end of the day. After five days of fighting, a cease-fire agreement was negotiated and signed. The Muslims attackers thus failed to seize their primary objective, the Fojnica intersection, but they did succeed in gaining control of the villages northeast of the road (Svinjarevo, Behrici, and Gomionica) and established their headquarters in Gomionica, occupying the area with about seven hundred ABiH soldiers. Most Muslim civilians in all of the villages south of Kiseljak and six villages north of the town subsequently left the area, although some remained, hoping the ABiH had sufficient power to protect them in a hotly contested area. Their decision was a fateful one, as the ABiH launched another unsuccessful attack in the heavily defended Gomionica area in April. Thereafter, the struggle in the Kiseljak enclave focused on an ABiH attempt to roll up the HVO positions around Kiseljak from the east and south.

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