EUFOR Raids Bunker-Town Searching for Mladic

resizer34EU peacekeeping forces have raided a local logging company early Tuesday, in search for any information that could reveal the whereabouts of Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect, Ratko Mladic who is still at large.

The operation was carried out in line with the request of the International War Crimes Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia, ICTY. It started at 6:30 am local time on Tuesday morning in the eastern town of Han Pijesak, Lt. Cdr. Pat O’Callaghan told Balkan Insight.

The target of the raid was the local outlet of the “Srpske Sume,” the main logging company in the Serb-dominated Bosnian entity of Republika Srpska. Lt. Cdr. Pat O’Callaghan said that after few hours EUFOR troops had left the scene, leaving local police and ICTY investigators to finalize the inspection. No materials have been reported seized so far.

Ratko Mladic was a Bosnian Serb war-time military commander and is now the only remaining Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect who remains in hiding 13 years after the war. He has been indicted by the ICTY under numerous accounts for genocide, crimes against humanity and other war crimes.

Over the past two decades, the town of Han Pijesak as well as the lumber company “Srpske Sume” were continually associated with Mladic. During and immediately after the war, he often resided in the town, and in subsequent years later “Srpske Sume” company was believed to have been contributing funds to aid his hiding.

The small and remote mountainous town of Han Pijesak was the base of the Bosnian Serb military headquarters during Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war. Gen. Ratko Mladic and his staff were usually accommodated in the well-protected underground bunker, which was built by the former Yugoslav communist regime on a hill overlooking the town.

The bunker was built to be the last center of defense for the entire Yugoslavia, in case of any larger conflicts. It can sustain nuclear attacks and has its own underground fresh water supply, communications rooms and sleeping accommodation. The bunker was closed and sealed by EUFOR five years ago.

Over the past few years, Mladic is believed to be hiding in Serbia. The United States government has offered a US$ 5 million reward for his arrest, while the Serbian government has offered another €1 million for information that could lead to Mladić’s capture and arrest.

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