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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bosnian General Denies Involvement in Fighting

TUZLA, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- A Bosnian army commander charged Friday that the NATO-led peace force had no right to confiscate weapons and denied his troops were involved in the worst fighting since the war ended.


But NATO officials said an accounting of weapons seized Thursday provided further evidence that soldiers of the Bosnian army's 254th brigade took part in fighting in a demilitarized zone patrolled by NATO-led forces.


The brigade was accused of involvement in Tuesday's fighting around the village of Gajevi in the demilitarized zone separating the Serb and Moslem-Croat halves of Bosnia. Russian troops in the NATO-led peace force seized a smaller cache from Bosnian Serb police also involved in the fighting.


U.S. troops were blocked by an angry mob of people who threw themselves in front of and under the vehicles when they left the brigade's compound with the weaponry.


"They threw rocks and stones at the vehicles, were abusive and spat at the soldiers,'' said Major Simon Haselock, a NATO spokeman in Sarajevo.


The weapons confiscated from the Bosnian army were not located inside the demilitarized zone, where all weapons are banned. They were registered with the NATO-led force in accordance with the Dayton peace agreement that ended Bosnia's war a year ago.


But Haselock said the number of rifles found in the base -- well over 1,000 -- were 50 short of the number registered during the last inspection of the site by NATO soldiers. "This, in our opinion, is another circumstantial clue in a pattern already laid of ... involvement in the skirmish,'' Haselock said.


Haselock said "there is no doubt in our minds that members of 254th brigade were on the scene, were engaged in the fighting and were involved in the arming and supporting of the crowd who marched to Gajevi.''


?Croatian President Franjo Tudjman is suffering from cancer and has been admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a U.S. official told The Associated Press on Friday.


"He is very sick,'' the official said, asking not to be identified. Walter Reed is the Army's premier medical facility.


There was no immediate comment from the Croatian Embassy here. An announcement Wednesday by the Croatian government said Tudjman, 74, had gone on medical leave for a regular checkup yet provided no further details.