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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bosnian Serb Head Detained By Police

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic was detained overnight by government opponents trying to sabotage her crackdown on high level corruption, Bosnian Serb sources said Monday.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Plavsic was held by police near Bijeljina in the northeast of the Serb Republic entity in Bosnia.

She was allowed to leave Monday morning by car for her office in Banja Luka under the protection of NATO peacekeepers.

The sources said officials opposed to Plavsic appeared to be trying to oust her after the failure of her attempt at the weekend to dismiss Interior Minister Dragan Kijac.

Kijac is loyal to ex-president and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic, still a powerful figure in the Bosnian Serb government despite being forced from public office last year, and to Momcilo Krajisnik, a member of Bosnia's multi-ethnic collective presidency.

Plavsic tried to remove Kijac because he refused to investigate two large Bosnian Serb companies headed by Karadzic and Krajisnik, the sources said.

She was detained on Sunday when she returned early from a visit to London to deal with Kijac's efforts to defy her with the apparent support of senior ministry officials.

Serbian police questioned her at Belgrade airport before escorting her to the Bosnian Serb border, where she was handed over to Bosnian Serb police.

Plavsic was elected president of the Bosnian Serb entity within Bosnia last September in a vote which put post-war government structures in place under the Dayton peace agreement that ended a 3 1/2 year war.

Real political power and control of the police in the Bosnian Serb sector has remained with the wartime leadership of Karadzic and Krajisnik.

They have frustrated attempts to transfer the government from its wartime seat in Pale outside Sarajevo to the northern city of Banja Luka, the only main industrial center left in Bosnian Serb hands.

Plavsic, herself a noted hardliner throughout the Serb war against Bosnian independence, was Karadzic's chosen successor in 1996 when the international community forced him from the presidency after he was indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal on former Yugoslavia.

But she has been increasingly isolated since the elections because of her attacks on official corruption believed to have enriched a small minority of Serbs who wielded power during the war.

Her opposition to a cooperation agreement earlier this year between Yugoslavia and the Bosnian Serb republic was ignored and the pact was signed by her deputy in defiance of her protests.