In the 330 pages long State Department's report on terrorism for 2018, two and a half pages are dedicated to Bosnia – saying that some progress has been made but that many obstacles still remain.
“Law enforcement cooperation continued to suffer from interpersonal and institutional infighting,” the report said. “Extremist ideology and regional nationalist groups remained potential sources of terrorism in Bosnia.”
“I've always said that we should talk about the problem of extremism and terrorism in a transparent and public fashion, so that our citizens would know what the problem is and what they could to resolve it,” Bosnia's Security Minister Dragan Mektic told N1 and asked whether the authorities were successful in publically talking about Bosnian citizens leaving to fight in Syria for the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).
“Given that this is a document publicly released by the State Department, it's understandable that it contained some general remarks. We see this in the section concerning the progress in the dera
dicalisation in the country. There are still a dozen of Bosnian citizens in Syria. We know that some 50 fighters still have to arrive from Syria and that there are a dozen others in Syria, Irak and Ukraine,” Ceranic said.
The Department of State said that despite amendments, the criminal policy remains very lenient towards terrorism suspects. “Bosnia closed some legislative loopholes through amendments to terrorism provisions in its criminal code, although lenient sentencing remained a challenge.”
Bosnia still expects the deportation of 9 of its citizens from Syria, but the deportation was postponed due to the Turkish incursion into Syria, during the “Spring of Peace” operation.
Mektic said he expects the connection regarding the 9 Bosnian citizens to be reestablished with Syria, but noted that the Ministry received some mixed information from the ground, ranging from chaotic to perfectly calm and under control.
According to the available information – some 100 Bosnian citizens are still in Syrian detention camps and prisons, most of whom are women and their children.