Hunt for war criminal Ratko Mladic stretches to Kenyan beach

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The hunt for Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb military leader wanted in connection with the massacre of an estimated 7,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995, found itself centred on an idyllic Kenyan beach.

The great sweep of Bamburi beach, its sands lapped by the Indian Ocean north of the Kenyan port of Mombasa, is a world away from the hills and valleys of Bosnia.

Outwardly there is little to suggest that the Blue Lagoon watersports centre, which offers glass-bottomed-boat excursions and snorkelling trips, might double as a refuge for a genocidal Balkan fugitive, despite a sign above the counter proclaiming: "No Smoking. Violators will be shot, survivors will be shot again."

But earlier this week he was arrested by Kenyan police following a tip-off, and reports emerged that he was suspected of being either Mladic or Goran Hadzic, a Croatian Serb leader who is the only other person still being sought by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

There were several problems with the watersports-manager-as-clandestine-mass-murderer theory. For one, Mr Mejaski was described as having been there for more than two decades, since long before the Srebrenica atrocity.

For another, he had willingly spoken to journalists in the past, and for a third, no-one desperate to remain anonymous and hidden from the West would be likely to choose an occupation that exposed them to thousands of European visitors every year.

But last night Mr Mejaski was released after the episode was confirmed as a case of mistaken identity when Interpol announced that his fingerprints did not match Mladic's, and the tribunal's spokesman said he was not Hadzic either.

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