A terrorist attack in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on the scale of those in Brussels and Paris is possible, terrorism expert Vlado Azinovic said in Konjic, BiH on Wednesday, adding that Bosnian security services, despite their fragmentation, were successfully fighting against terrorism and were a competent partner to similar services in the world.
"It would be very irresponsible if we acted as though it couldn't happen here. Agencies need to act about that with a dose of caution, but we citizens too," Azinovic said, adding that "the agencies dealing with such security challenges are doing so in a very competent and responsible way. On the other hand, one shouldn't cause panic or fear."
Azinovic, one of the leading Balkan experts in combating terrorism, was speaking at a conference organised by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe Mission to BiH.
He said that much more organised states than BiH were unable to deal with new security challenges because those committing terrorist acts did not have criminal records. "It's becoming a global phenomenon."
He said the UN had known that 217 persons from BiH had gone abroad to fight for Islamic State.
Former assistant security minister Vjekoslav Vukovic said fighters returning from war zones, notably Syria and Iraq, were a big security problem and that punishing them with only one year's imprisonment was a bad message in the fight against terrorism. He recalled that BiH was the first country to adopt amendments to the penal code to punish those serving in paramilitary units.
The head of the OSCE Mission, Jonathan Moore, said the media had a very important role, especially so because they had been victims of terrorist attacks, in properly presenting the dangers of terrorism, but by avoiding sensationalism.