dragan mektić - BiH.png
Photograph: screenshot / youtube.com

Security agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina have stepped up the surveillance of all persons who have returned from fighting in Syria and that is only one in a number of measures taken after last week's terrorist attacks in Paris, Security Minister Dragan Mektic was quoted in Monday's issue of Dnevni Avaz daily as saying.

Mektic also announced that police agencies would be given more extensive powers to deal with terrorist threats.

Mektic on Sunday left Sarajevo for Paris for talks with French Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve. Officials at the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina said that the meeting had been arranged before the terrorist attacks this past Friday, and Mektic said that the latest attacks called for an agreement on a more efficient fight against terrorism.

So far there have been no arrests in Bosnia and Herzegovina in relation to the latest attacks in Paris but local police agencies have carried out checks requested by France regarding several persons from the Middle East and Africa. 

Mektic said it was clear that additional anti-terrorist measures had to be taken because the ones already in force were no longer sufficient.

"We are considering the adoption of a law introducing stricter punishment for terrorist acts. We also have to give police agencies greater powers," said Mektic.

One of the problems Bosnia and Herzegovina has not been able to deal with successfully is hate speech, namely the glorification of terrorist acts on web portals, as has been the case with the latest attacks in Paris.

Mektic said that an investigation was under way to establish who was behind such messages but that it was difficult because web domains were constantly changed. "But we will get on their trail very soon," he said.

One of such portals is Vijesti Ummeta and on Sunday it featured threats and a text glorifying the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Mektic's assistant for the fight against terrorism, organised crime and corruption, Vjekoslav Vukovic, said that the strategy adopted recently by the Bosnian government included the making of a list of web portals supporting terrorism. 

Vukovic said that such portals were very dangerous. "Brutally calling on others to commit terrorist acts, as has been done by some portals, is more evil than verbally recruiting people for terrorism. That always affects young people the most," said Vukovic.

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