Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Karadzic Loyalists Lash Out At Plavsic

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- A top aide of war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic, who was blocked from leaving his hotel for 12 hours by his foes, Wednesday accused the Bosnian Serb president of leading Serbs into catastrophe.


Police loyal to President Biljana Plavsic blocked access to the Hotel Bosna in the center of Banja Luka early Tuesday, cutting telephones, power and water.


Momcilo Krajisnik, Karadzic's top aide and the Serb member of Bosnia's joint presidency, and several of his chief aides were trapped inside.


After strenuous negotiations mediated by international officials, Krajisnik and his aides left the hotel late Tuesday under a hail of bottles, eggs and stones hurled by Plavsic's supporters who had gathered in front.


Krajisnik and his aides had come to Banja Luka, Plavsic's stronghold, Monday for an abortive rally that U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization officials said was designed to mask a coup against Plavsic.


"We had no intention to trigger conflicts," Krajisnik was quoted by the Bosnian Serb Srna news agency as saying. He described his "ordeal" in Banja Luka as a "major drama" orchestrated by Plavsic and international officials.


He claimed that "Plavsic is not making her moves alone, but is plotting against Republika Srpska [the Bosnian Serb sub-state], together with a group of people who are leading our country into catastrophe."


Plavsic turned against Karadzic and Krajisnik in July, accusing them of impoverishing their people by rejecting the U.S.-brokered peace accords. The region was denied international aid as a result, while the two men and their allies enriched themselves through crime and corruption.


Banja Luka television, controlled by Plavsic, carried a commentary saying Krajisnik and his aides "got what they deserved." They "came to Banja Luka to provoke bloodshed."


Seventy-two Krajisnik men were taken from the hotel to a NATO base, where they were being checked to determine if they were among those indicted for war crimes by the UN tribunal in The Hague, the Netherlands, said U.S. envoy Jacques Klein, who negotiated their release.


In Banja Luka, NATO spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Mike Wright said no one was charged and they all left the base. His comment dispelled rumors about Dragan Kijac, Karadzic's much-hated former police chief, whose whereabouts were not immediately clear.


In Sarajevo, Klein told reporters those taken to the base were forced to leave behind "a hotel lobby full of weapons."