SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — The first hint of a challenge to the authority of the NATO peacekeeping mission in the Balkans emerged Monday with a report that separatist Serbs had seized 11 civilians traveling on Sarajevo roads that had been opened by peacekeepers.
Hasan Muratovic, the Bosnian minister in charge of relations with the United Nations, said Monday that the civilians were dragged from their vehicles during the last week while traveling through Ilidza, a western suburb held by hard-line separatist Serbs.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization said it had no official knowledge of the incidents and added that civilian police are were responsible for investigating such matters.
The 11 civilians reported seized were among many who have taken advantage of NATO's success in securing freedom of movement for people through areas held by their former enemies.
Muratovic's office said the government might be forced to ban its citizens from passing through Ilidza, a district that is due to revert to government control by mid-March under the peace accord reached in Dayton, Ohio.