The Situation at the End of April 1993

The ABiH seriously underestimated the ability and determination of HVO forces to resist their April offensive. As a consequence, what Muslim leaders had most probably envisaged as a quick and thorough defeat of the HVO military followed by cleansing the Vitez-Busovaca-Kiseljak-Zenica area for settlement by Muslim refugees turned out to be a significant battle. Moreover, the ABiH failed to achieve any of its major goals despite inflicting serious casualties on HVO military personnel and the Croat civilian population. The aggressive HVO active defense, including the selective use of preemptive and spoiling attacks, counterattacks, and clearing operations, stalled the Muslim advance around Vitez, Busovaca, and Kiseljak. The HVO's defensive operations—with the exception of Ahmici—inflicted serious, but not disproportionate, damage on Muslim property and persons. At the end of the month, the two antagonists still faced each other from lines north and south of the vital Travnik-Kiseljak road and several smaller Muslim enclaves in the Lasva Valley, but the SPS explosives factory in Vitez remained in HVO hands, the two Croat enclaves remained intact, and the people making up the core of the Croat community in central Bosnia continued to occupy their homes and operate their businesses. Further ABiH operations would be required if the Muslims were going to realize their ambitions in the area.

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