Berserkistan Navigator French Rescue U.S. Patrol from Angry Serb Mob in Sarajevo Suburb

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina, June 4 (AP) -- French troops helped six U.S. soldiers evade an angry Bosnian Serb mob, which had surrounded them in a police station Tuesday. The crowd gathered after the GIs arrested a man for carrying a revolver and a hand grenade in a Sarajevo suburb. The Americans handed him over to a nearby Serb-run police station, said U.S. Maj. Jerry Renne, a NATO spokesman. While inside, about 200 Serbs encircled the police station.

Three French armored vehicles arrived a short while later to help out, said Maj. Guy Vinet, a spokesman for French troops in the NATO force. After the armed man turned over his weapons, a Serb police official dispersed the crowd, allowing the Americans to leave, Renne said. Vinet added that French troops applied “a little force” to clear the way.

NATO troops routinely back off from confrontations with unarmed crowds. Stone-throwing, club-wielding mobs have repeatedly blocked free movement in parts of Bosnia, particularly Bosnian Serb territory.

A senior Bosnian Serb leader, Momcilo Krajisnik, said the detained Serb was a former commander for the Bosnian Serb army and is reportedly wanted by Bosnia’s Muslim-led government. The angry Serb reaction to the detention of a relatively unimportant army figure showed the strength of emotion that could be unleashed by any arrest of the Bosnian Serb commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic, and political leader Radovan Karadzic.

Rallies in support of the two, both indicted on war crimes charges, attracted thousands in the Serb-held towns of Foca and Bijeljina on Tuesday, Bosnian Serb media said.

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