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U.N. Building in Sarajevo Stormed

April 2, 2001

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ Hundreds of survivors of a Serb massacre during the Bosnian war stormed the U.N. building here Monday after hearing that a Muslim commander was about to be arrested for trial by the U.N. war crimes tribunal.

A crowd of mostly women stoned security guards and police after breaking down a metal barrier and pounding on the building’s glass doors. Security guards tried to push them back.

The survivors claimed the wartime commander of the Srebrenica enclave, Naser Oric, was being held inside. Srebrenica was a supposed U.N. ``safe haven″ in Bosnia overrun by the Serbs in 1995, where up to 8,000 Muslims and Croats were killed or disappeared in the bloodiest massacre of the 1992-1995 Bosnian war.

Oric, a former bodyguard of Slobodan Milosevic, is considered a hero by Bosnian Muslims for his defense of Srebrenica during the Serb siege.

But Bosnia’s Serbs say he was a war criminal, accusing him of killing dozens of Serb civilians before the siege of the town.

U.N. officials refused to say whether Oric had been charged or was even in the building. A survivors’ group issued a statement earlier Monday saying that Oric had been arrested.

The protesters chanted ``We want Naser!″ and held banners accusing the United Nations of participating in the massacre at Srebrenica. U.N. peacekeepers stationed there at the time failed to stop Serb forces from overrunning it.

Chief war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte visited Sarajevo last week.

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