CNN logo

Infoseek/Big Yellow

Pathfinder/Warner Bros

Barnes and Noble

Bosnia background grfk

Key Players

Slobodan Milosevic
Yugoslav president

Biljana Plavsic
Bosnian Serb President

Radovan Karadzic
Bosnian Serb war-crimes suspect


Wanted: Arkan CNN's Christiane Amanpour investigates Zeljko Raznatovic, a Bosnian Serb leader accused of war crimes.


NATO Involvement in Balkan Crisis
U.S. State Department Fact Sheet

Summary of Dayton Peace Accord
U.S. State Department


Interactive Poll Vote on NATO's role

Bosnia Message Board

World banner

Hard-liners say they are 'hostages' to Plavsic police

standoff September 9, 1997
Web posted at: 5:42 a.m. EST (1042 GMT)

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (Reuters) -- Bosnian Serb hard-line leaders claimed they were being held hostage in a Banja Luka hotel on Tuesday after it was surrounded by police loyal to President Biljana Plavsic.

The group included Momcilo Krajisnik, the powerful Serb member of Bosnia's inter-ethnic presidency and Prime Minister Gojko Klickovic.

Both men are close to indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic whose ruling SDS party has been locked in a two-month power struggle with Plavsic after she accused its leadership of corruption.

Police wearing camouflage fatigues surrounded the Hotel Bosnia in central Banja Luka before dawn and SDS adviser John Zametica told reporters inside: "We are not confined to the hotel, we are hostages here."

The Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA which is controlled by the hard-liners alleged that Krajisnik and his group were "brutalized" and their cars confiscated by police on Monday night after an SDS rally against Plavsic in Banja Luka.

General Jacques Klein, U.S. deputy to the international high representative in Bosnia, visited Krajisnik on Tuesday morning and then left to find out who had ordered the operation.

The rally attracted only 150 hard-line supporters after NATO peacekeepers and Plavsic's police prevented the SDS from bringing paid demonstrators from eastern Bosnia by bus to attend.

NATO reported tense standoffs between peacekeepers and frustrated hard-line supporters and five police were reported hurt in clashes at a checkpoint outside Banja Luka.

The city center was sealed off to traffic on Tuesday morning.

International mediators had warned the hard-liners on Monday that patience was running out with their efforts to derail the peace process in Bosnia.

Klein denounced the presence of "armed thugs" at the rally organized by the hard-liners after eyewitnesses said some of the SDS demonstrators were openly carrying guns.

Klein, who vowed to stay in Banja Luka until calm was restored, told reporters: "This is a terrible indictment against the people who organized this rally. Armed thugs running around town have nothing to do with politics and it's time to put a stop to this."

Pro-Plavsic demonstrators taunted Krajisnik and Klickovic with shouts of "thieves, thieves," and forced them to retreat to their hotel for safety.

Plavsic met Krajisnik in the presence of Patriarch Pavle of the Serbian Orthodox Church during the rally, in an attempt to find a way out of the impasse.

Political sources said Krajisnik refused an offer by Plavsic to share national access to Bosnian Serb television, which now has rival studios in Banja Luka and in Pale, outside Sarajevo, where the hard-liners are based.

Both Krajisnik and Plavsic rejected Pavle's suggestion that they should put themselves up for re-election to test their personal support when the Serb entity holds parliamentary elections next month.

The peacekeepers allowed Plavsic's police to deploy an armored car in front of her offices as a precaution and Plavsic's security commanders mobilized 1,600 military and civilian police.

International mediators feared that a confrontation had been engineered to affect the outcome of a campaign for Bosnian local elections next weekend whose success is vital to the next stage of the peace process.

Copyright 1997 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


Related stories:

Related sites:

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
  • NATO - official site
    • Operations IFOR & SFOR provides information relating to NATO's role in bringing peace in the Former Yugoslavia
  • OSCE: Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina - providing information about the OSCE's activities, particularly as they relate to the elections scheduled for September 14, and to assist refugees to vote
  • Croatia/Bosnia-Herzegovina - from CARE
  • BosniaLINK - the official Department of Defense information system about U.S. military activities in Operation JOINT GUARD, the NATO peacekeeping mission in Bosnia

External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Infoseek search  

Message Boards Sound off on our message boards

You said it...
To the top

© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.