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NATO and EU troops raid homes of Karadzic allies

Written by: Staff
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PALE, Bosnia, Aug 23 (Reuters) NATO and European Union troops hunting war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic searched the homes of three Bosnian Serbs today and Bosnia's security agency was reported to have detained one of them.

The operation came two days after U N Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte opened a trial at the Hague tribunal with a complaint that Karadzic and fellow genocide suspect Ratko Mladic remain at large, 10 years after the Bosnian war ended.

American troops sealed off parts of Karadzic's wartime stronghold of Pale, east of Sarajevo, and searched the home of former police commander Jovan Skobo.

''Mr Skobo is believed to be linked to the support network of Radovan Karadzic that allows him to remain at large,'' said Derek Chappel, a NATO spokesman in Sarajevo.

Skobo and other occupants of the house did not resist, Chappel said. The Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA reported that the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) detained Skobo after the NATO troops had left.

Supported by Italian Carabinieri police, SIPA also searched the Pale houses of another wartime commander, Radomir Kojic, and his brother-in-law Radoslav Ilic.

Last week, NATO troops conducted a similar raid in the Bosnian Serb administrative centre of Banja Luka in western Bosnia, searching the homes of three suspected Karadzic helpers and of another fugitive war crimes suspect, Stojan Zupljanin.

Alleged helpers have been detained temporarily in past raids but there has never been any indication that Karadzic himself has narrowly eluded arrest.

Karadzic, the Bosnian Serbs' wartime leader, and wartime military commander Mladic are indicted for genocide by the UN war crimes court for the siege of Sarajevo and the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica.

Del Ponte warned at the start of the trial of seven Bosnian Serbs for the Srebrenica massacre on Monday that justice would not be served until the two were in the dock. She said Serbia was ''fully capable'' of arresting them but refused to do so.

REUTERS MS RN2124

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