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Thursday November 30, 2000

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Six U.N. officers fired for 'inappropriate behavior'

By The Associated Press

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Six U.N. police officers were removed from the Bosnian mission and sent home because of "inappropriate behavior" after a raid on three bars, the U.N. said yesterday.

Local police, assisted by U.N. officers, raided the nightclubs in the Bosnian Serb town of Prijedor on Nov. 13 and found 33 women apparently forced into prostitution - some believed to be as young as 14.

The owner of the clubs, Milorad Milakovic, accused the U.N. police in Prijedor of asking for protection money to avoid police action against him.

Prostitution is illegal in Bosnia, and the U.N. police are deployed in Bosnia to make sure the local police do their job and uphold the rule of law.

Alun Roberts, the U.N. spokesman in Banja Luka, told reporters y esterdaythe officers had been sent home.

"The six were removed for exceeding their duties in the U.N. mandate and also for inappropriate behavior and violation of the U.N. mission code of conduct," Roberts said.

Soon after the raids, Milakovic reopened one of his clubs.

Women mainly from countries like Ukraine, Moldova or Romania often use illegal channels to get to Bosnia and decide to stay and work as prostitutes.

Other women, who are told they will get jobs as waitresses in Western Europe once they pass through Bosnia, get stuck here after brothel owners take their passports away.