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Archive for Saturday, March 2, 2002

Serb continues to elude NATO

March 2, 2002

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— NATO trucks and helicopters rumbled into a rugged corner of Bosnia in search of Radovan Karadzic, but the world's No. 1 war crimes fugitive eluded capture again Friday in a manhunt that uncovered only more Bosnian Serb defiance.

For a second day, heavily armed troops set out before dawn in an all-out drive to find the former Bosnian Serb leader indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for genocide and bring him to The Hague, Netherlands, to face justice alongside Slobodan Milosevic.

The troops ventured deep into a remote and mountainous part of eastern Bosnia in search of Karadzic's hide-out. Villagers in Foca, about 12 miles northwest of Celebici, said a convoy of 17 NATO vehicles rolled through the area after daybreak as choppers thundered overhead.

Although the forces pulled back after finding no trace of Karadzic, wanted for the July 1995 Bosnian Serb slaughter of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys, NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson said the raids would continue and warned the fugitive: "Your time is running out."

"One day, whether it is tomorrow, next week, next month or next year, SFOR will come for you," Robertson said, using the acronym for the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia.

But ordinary Serbs who see Karadzic, 56, as a war hero and a patriot said they would do whatever it takes to keep him out of Western hands. In recent months, they have torn down U.S. State Department wanted posters offering a $5 million bounty for Karadzic.

In the past, Karadzic was believed to have traveled widely in Bosnia.

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