- The Washington Times - Friday, March 27, 2009

NAIROBI, KENYA (AP) - A man arrested by Kenyan police on suspicion of being fugitive Gen. Ratko Mladic is not the Bosnian Serb ex-military chief wanted for genocide in the former Yugoslavia, an Interpol spokeswoman said Friday.

Spokeswoman Rachel Billington said the man’s fingerprints do not match Mladic’s.

Kenyan police detained the man at a luxury coastal resort on Thursday after a tip he resembled Mladic. They sent his fingerprints to Interpol to confirm his identity.

Interpol were not able to immediately confirm the man’s fingerprints did not match those of former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic, the other remaining fugitive from the U.N. Yugoslav war-crimes tribunal. Kenyan police could not be immediately reached for comment.

Two staff members at the Whitesands Hotel, where the man ran a water-sports shop, said he carried papers identifying him as Croatian Igor Mejaski, who had been in the country for many years. They spoke on condition because they feared losing their jobs.



Mejaski’s mother, Katica Mejaski, said in Croatia that he had been in Kenya for 23 years and has “nothing to do with the war or some war crimes.”

She also said her son had recent health problems and coupled with a prospect of bad tourist season, “the last thing he needed is to be wrongly arrested as a war criminal.”

Whitesands staff said a group of plainclothes police arrived at the resort on Thursday and arrested Mejaski in the company of hotel management before whisking him away in a convoy of unmarked cars.

Hotel management referred comments to the head of hotel security, who did not return calls.

The Croatian foreign ministry said its embassy in South Africa “has been in contact” with Kenyan authorities and would not say anything further until the identification process is over.

Mladic, 67, is charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. He is accused of masterminding the July 1995 massacre in Srebrenica, where some 8,000 Muslim men were killed by Serb forces.

Hadzic, 50, a former Croatian Serb leader, is wanted in connection with atrocities during the war in Croatia.

The tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands was established 15 years ago and has indicted 161 suspects.

___

Associated Press Writers Mike Corder in The Hague, Netherlands, Anita Powell and Tom Odula in Nairobi, Scott Sayare in Paris and Snjezana Vukic in Zagreb, Croatia contributed to this report.

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