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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 April 2007, 01:52 GMT 02:52 UK
Bosnia tackles 'foreign fighters'
By Nicholas Walton
BBC News

Bosnian wartime army regiment in Zenica
Bosnia's foreign fighters came from many parts of the Muslim world
Bosnia-Hercegovina has stripped almost 400 people of citizenship as part of an investigation into foreign fighters who settled in the country after the war.

Bosnian media sees the investigation as a part of a drive against terrorism requested by the US.

Bosnia's government says those involved came from Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan and Russia.

Hundreds of foreign volunteers came to Bosnia during the war of the early 1990s to assist government forces.

Many of these were Muslims who had fought in Afghanistan and saw the war in Bosnia as an attack on Islam that carried the tacit approval of the international community.

When the fighting ended, many stayed, married Bosnian women and settled down, often following a more devout form of Islam than was traditional in the Balkans.

This form of Islam has since spread, and with it tensions with both local Muslim communities and non-Muslims.

Other countries, notably the US, have also warned that this group could provide fertile ground for Islamic terrorism.

The response of the Bosnian government has been to examine how the fighters came to be granted Bosnian citizenship after the war ended in 1995.

The justice minister, Barisa Colak, announced that citizenship was now being withdrawn in 367 cases where it had been illegally awarded.

In response, a former commander in the Bosnian army, Serif Patkovic, said the decision was political and would split men from wives and children.




SEE ALSO
Bosnia: The legacy of war
15 Nov 00 |  Europe

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