Bosnian Defence Ministry says murder of two soldiers terrorist act

The Bosnian Presidency on Thursday asked all judicial and police agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to quickly and effectively investigate the murder of two soldiers in Sarajevo last night.

In a joint statement, the three-men presidency condemned in the strongest terms the murder of Armin Salkic and Nedeljko Radic, calling on the nations and citizens of BiH to "be united in the condemnation and uncompromising fight against terrorism and violent extremism."

The international community's High Representative to BiH, Valentin Inzko, also condemned the murder committed by Enes Omeragic, who later committed suicide. "Everyone should refrain from politicizing this serious event and let the institutions work unhindered. I am confident that a speedy and full investigation will be conducted by the law enforcement and security agencies in BiH.”

The ruling Party of Democratic Action condemned the murder of the two soldiers as a terrorist attack on the state. "Terrorism is a global evil which poses a direct threat to world peace and security and we must resolutely fight it with joint efforts. We call on the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are rightfully worried, to cooperate and be calm," a statement said.

The BiH Defence Ministry believes the murder was a terrorist act which happened because of lack of coordination with civilian security and police structures, deputy ministers Emir Suljagic and Boris Jerinic told reporters.

"This was an act of terrorism against members of the armed forces," Suljagic said, recalling that BiH was a member of the global coalition fighting Islamic State and that BiH soldiers participated in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.

He said the army had no authority to act in the case of last night's attack because it was committed outside a military facility and that the responsibility lay with civilian security agencies. "My position is that the police agencies failed."

Suljagic said BiH was faced with a real terrorist danger and that it must act accordingly, recalling the assault by an Islamic extremist on the police station in Zvornik in April, when he killed one policeman. Suljagic said uniformed men were the victims in both attacks. "There's a problem. It's called terrorism and we must deal with it," he said, adding that BiH armed forces were caught by surprise last night but that it would not happen again.

The other deputy defence minister, Jerinic, agreed that there was not enough coordination and exchange of information between security and other services in BiH, "but that's not a matter for the Defence Ministry." He said the Council of Ministers must now take action to prevent such things.

He said the killer, 34-year-old Enes Omeragic, had a criminal record but that police did not follow him or search his house, where he was hiding an arsenal of weapons. "I hope everyone in BiH will realise that we have the same problem and that we must deal with it together," he said, adding that there was no doubt that the murder of the two soldiers was an act of terrorism.

BiH Army Chief of Staff General Anto Jelec said the army would extend full support to civilian investigative bodies and that it was taking measures to prevent similar things from happening.

Last update: Tue, 08/12/2015 - 12:27

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