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Bosnia: NATO Prevents Clash Between Police Factions

Sarajevo, 8 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - Today in northern Bosnia, Bosnian Serb police backing war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic confronted those supporting his rival, Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic. NATO-led peace troops managed to convince most of the policemen from both sides to disperse, and set up a checkpoint in the area of confrontation.

The U.N. international police force said some 200 police loyal to Plavsic were heading east from her stronghold in Banja Luka when they were blocked by about 100 hard-line police loyal to Karadzic. The Karadzic force said they were thwarting a move by Plavsic loyalists to take over police stations in the towns of Doboj and Derventa.

A U.N. police spokesman said some of the policemen remain in the area, about one kilometer away from each other, and the situation remains tense. Bosnian Serb police have been split by a political struggle within the Bosnian Serb half of Bosnia, pitting democratically elected Plavsic against Karadzic, whom Plavsic accuses of large-scale corruption.