Page last updated at 16:22 GMT, Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Bosnia police raid conservative Muslim village


Bosnian police have launched a massive operation against a conservative Muslim community, to prevent what they called attempts to destabilise the country.

Hundreds of police officers raided the mountain village of Gornja Maoca in northern Bosnia.

The village is home to Bosnian followers of Wahhabism, a strict form of Sunni Islam.

Some 600 officers surrounded the village before raiding it on Monday morning, the spokesman added.

It was the biggest police operation in Bosnia since its 1992-1995 war, said the state prosecutor's office.

Security forces closed off the isolated northern village, which is near the northern city of Brcko and has around 100 residents, while the raid was in progress.

"The goal of this operation... is to identify people accused of endangering the territorial integrity of Bosnia-Hercegovina, threatening the constitutional order and promoting national, racial and religious hatred," Boris Grubesic, the prosecutor's spokesman, told AFP news agency.

Local radio reported that several people were arrested - including Wahhabi cleric Nusret Imamovic - and ammunition was seized, but this was not confirmed by police.

Security threats?

Gornja Maoca had been under surveillance for some time, says BBC Balkans correspondent Mark Lowen.

The raid was carried out by officers from both of the semi-autonomous entities that make up Bosnia: the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska, and the Bosniak-Croat Federation, of Bosnia-Hercegovina.

During Bosnia's war, a large number of foreign Islamic fighters, or mujahideen, came from the Middle East to assist soldiers from the Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) army, our correspondent adds.

Many stayed in the country and gained Bosnian nationality. After some were identified as security threats, they were stripped of their citizenship and deported.

Originating in the Arabian peninsula, Wahhabism is a highly conservative and puritanical form of Sunni Islam prevalent in Saudi Arabia.

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UPI Balkans threaten EU security, U.S. says - 12 mins ago
Al Jazeera Bosnian police raid Muslim houses - 12 hrs ago
The Scotsman Balkan police arrest Islamic dissidents - 19 hrs ago
AFP via Yahoo! Bosnian police raid radical Muslim stronghold - 24 hrs ago
Financial TimesBosnia-Herzegovina raids 'Islamist' village - 25 hrs ago
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