Nato-led troops in Bosnia raided the home of Radovan Karadzic today, apparently hunting for clues that might lead to the capture of the world’s top war crimes fugitive.
Nato-led peacekeepers have not yet confirmed they carried out the raid, but Karadzic’s wife, Ljiljana Zelen-Karadzic said the troops entered the house before dawn today in Pale, six miles east of Sarajevo.
‘‘This is part of the constant pressure against the Karadzic family,’’ she said. The former Bosnian Serb president was not at home.
Karadzic has been in hiding since 1997. He is accused by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague of genocide for his role in the Bosnian war.
A housekeeper working for the family, 66-year-old Rade Glavonjic, said about 30 French Nato troops arrived at the house shortly after 3am (2am Irish time).
‘‘Helicopters woke me up and when I looked through the window, I saw about 30 of them around the house. I went down to open the gate but they broke in, threw me on the ground and tied me up,’’ Glavonjic said.
He said the soldiers searched the house for about an hour and a half, breaking furniture and smashing the glass in picture frames.
The US government has offered $5m (€5.1m) for information leading to Karadzic’s arrest and has pressured his friends and relatives to convince him to surrender. Nato has made several unsuccessful attempts to capture him.
Zelen-Karadzic told Belgrade’s independent B-92 radio the troops took several floppy disks from a personal computer and a few video tapes - including ‘‘family videos’’.
Last month, Nato-led peacekeepers in Bosnia gave a letter to Karadzic through his wife urging him to turn himself over to the UN court.
She said her husband responded to Nato with a letter in which he said he would never surrender, describing the tribunal as illegal.
Last year, peacekeepers began delivering letters to fugitives through their families. It is not known if any one of the suspects has responded positively to the messages.