Croat and Serb Froces Appear to Fight Together

MUSLIM-LED government troops apparently tried to counter fierce attacks by combined Croat and Serb forces yesterday in a key cluster of cities northwest of Sarajevo.

It was unclear if they succeeded.

Fighting was "extremely grave" around Muslim-dominated Novi Seher, government-controlled Bosnian radio reported Tuesday night.

It said the town had been under intense attack from Bosnian Croat forces backed by Serb artillery, and that refugees were streaming south. The town is southwest of Maglaj, the scene of some of the heaviest recent fighting.

A British officer with a United Nations peacekeeping unit, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Croat and Serb forces appeared to be coordinating a "pincer action" against Maglaj from the east and west.

Bosnian radio also reported more fighting in Mostar, in southwestern Bosnia. The radio said the Muslim government's Army had captured the Croats' northern camp in Mostar, taking many prisoners. There was no independent confirmation.

Croats and Muslim-led government troops fought together against rebel Serbs at the start of the war. But their increasingly shaky alliance has all but collapsed in recent fighting for central Bosnian territory. Bosnian Serbs control about 70 percent of the country, and Croats hold most of the rest. Rebel Azeri Is Premier

The Azeri parliament yesterday elected rebel leader Suret Guseinov as prime minister, less than two weeks after his forces chased popularly elected President Abulfaz Elchibey from power. Mr. Guseinov will also gain direct control of the defense, interior, and national security ministries.

The 35-year-old former Army colonel and wool merchant won approval in the 51-member parliament with 35 votes.

Even members of fugitive President Elchibey's Popular Front, who protested against the nomination, ended up voting for Guseinov.

Elchibey has remained in exile in his home village in the remote region of Nakhichevan and continues to insist that he is the legal head of state. But his presidential powers have been handed over to Azerbaijan's former communist leader, Geidar Aliyev, a former Communist Party boss and chairman of parliament. German Arson Attacks

Police reported three pre-dawn arson attacks against Turks in Germany yesterday. At least one was suspected as an antiforeigner assault. Two people were injured.

Bavarian state police announced a reward of 10,000 marks ($5,900) for clues in the firebombing of a Turkish family's apartment in Erbendorf. They said it appeared to be politically motivated. A Turkish man suffered cuts in escaping with his wife and two small children, and a pregnant German woman living in an adjacent apartment suffered serious smoke inhalation from the fire that gutted the Turkish family's apartment.

Police in western Germany were investigating arson attacks during the night on a Turkish family in Cologne and on a Turkish-owned grocery store in Ludwigshafen. No injuries were reported, and the motives in the attacks were not clear, police said.

The spate of arson came a day before a new German law goes into effect to make it more difficult for foreigners to claim asylum in Germany. The law was passed partly to try to reduce violence against foreigners, but attacks have continued. A month ago, five Turkish women and girls died in a fire deliberately set at their home in Solingen.

Since the beginning of 1992, 26 people have died in neo-Nazi violence directed at refugees, foreign residents, and German homeless or leftists.

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