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Bosnia: Mladic Refuses To Quit; Threatens Split

Belgrade, 11 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - Indicted war criminal Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic is refusing to give up his post as army chief.

Mladic was fired on Saturday by Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic. She said international opposition made it impossible for Mladic to retain the post. She also dismissed 80 other high-ranking officers in a general restructuring of the armed forces. Maj. Gen. Pero Colic was sworn in as the new army chief yesterday.

But Gen. Milan Gvero, a prominent member of the Bosnian Serb general staff, today confirmed reports Mladic and other high-ranking staff remained in charge of the armed forces. In a telephone interview with the Associated Press, Gvero said, "not a single army unit, not a single officer supports this move (dismissal)."

He warned that the firings could cause discord among the Serb people and create parallel commands over the armed forces.

Mladic has twice been indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague. He and former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic are accused of genocide and crimes against humanity during the Bosnian war. Mladic is considered a hero by many Bosnian Serbs.

Gvero would not say what the dismissed army leaders planned to do next, however.