The investigative outlet that revealed an alleged Croatian plot aimed to portray Bosnia as a terrorist hub published on Tuesday interviews with radical Muslims who said the Croatian intelligence agency SOA tried to recruit them.
Zurnal published an interview with an alleged member of the Salafi movement with the initials H.C., who said he cooperated with Croatian intelligence officers for four months. He said they threatened to ban him from entering Croatia and even with prison time for posing a threat to Croatia’s national security.
He was allegedly told to create a fake social media account which he would use to embrace ISIS and connect with certain persons. He also alleged they threatened they would cause difficulties for his family.
H.C. told Zurnal he refused to continue to cooperate when he was told to transport a backpack with firearms from Doboj in Republika Srpska, Bosnia's Serb-majority semi-autonomous entity, to masjids in central Bosnia.
Sabahudin Jasarevic reportedly told Zurnal a similar story.
He said he never had a problem with being granted an extended stay in Croatia until last October when he was summoned by Croatia’s intelligence agency.
He said he was asked about the war, about Bosnian Army soldiers and officers, and who served where.
He said that after that, he was officially banned from Croatia and that he was never told why.
N1 contacted Croatia’s Interior Ministry, which forwarded any inquiries to SOA, but the institution has not responded at the time of writing.
Croatian officials have called the allegations “nonsense”.
The SOA did confirm to Croatia’s ‘Nacional’ newspaper that it had contacts with members of the Salafi movement but justified it by saying that Bosnia was too soft towards extremists. SOA said they questioned the Salafis in cooperation with the Bosnian intelligence agency.
But Security Minister Dragan Mektic rejected those explanations and said that Croatian authorities never informed Bosnia about the persons being banned because of terrorism, even though they should have done so if it was the case.