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Sarajevo Cabdrivers Block City

December 29, 1998

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ More than 1,000 taxi drivers blocked the downtown streets of the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo on Tuesday in a protest prompted by the murder of a cabdriver.

The body of Denis Imamovic, 22, was found a few miles outside Sarajevo in a pit beside a road after he disappeared Sunday night. Three men were seen entering his car before the Muslim cabdriver’s disappearance.

Car theft appeared to be the motive for Imamovic’s killing, as it was in three other cabbie slayings since 1996. The bodies of those victims were also found in Bosnian Serb territory.

As the news about the murder spread through the taxi radio system, more then 300 cabdrivers from Sarajevo drove to the spot where Imamovic was found.

But the drivers said that three people in a Bosnian Serb police car fired at them as they arrived at the scene.

Within hours after the shooting incident, more than 1,000 angry Sarajevo taxi drivers blocked roads into the city for several hours, demanding police control over Sarajevo’s entry points.

Such checkpoints are forbidden by the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the 3 1/2-year-long war. The aim was to encourage freedom of movement between the Muslim-Croat and the Bosnian Serb halves of the country.

Cabdrivers said Tuesday they at least want police to check the identity of their passengers when they cross over to Bosnian Serb territory.

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