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NATO Troops Deploy After Police Clash

September 23, 1997|From Reuters

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina — NATO deployed troops in northern Bosnia on Monday after a clash between rival police in a new round of the power struggle between the Western-backed president of the Bosnian Serb entity and a hard-line indicted war crimes suspect.

Officers loyal to President Biljana Plavsic who took over a police station at Prnjavor the day before clashed Monday with police supporting former president Radovan Karadzic, a U.N. police spokesman said in Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital.

One police officer of unidentified allegiance was shot in the leg.

Plavsic's interior ministry said the clash happened after four vanloads of Karadzic's police arrived in Tromedja, near Prnjavor. Local sources said they wanted to take back the police station from Plavsic's allies.

The power struggle between the Western-backed Plavsic and hard-liners led by Karadzic, who has been indicted by the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague, has split the Bosnian Serbian entity into rival eastern and western sectors.

Plavsic's capture of Prnjavor from Karadzic's eastern-based police was a significant gain in her attempt to widen her power base in northwestern Bosnia. Police in the town swore loyalty to her after a shake-up that removed pro-Karadzic hard-liners from their posts.

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