SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bosnia’s state prosecutor on Friday indicted six Bosnian Muslims on terrorism charges over a June bomb attack that killed a policeman and injured several others in the central town of Bugojno.
Police investigators and media said the group were part of the radical Sunni Muslim Wahhabi sect. It has taken root in Bosnia under the influence of Islamic foreigners, some of whom stayed after fighting alongside Bosnian Muslims during the country’s 1992-95 ethnic war.
Haris Causevic, 26, Adnan Haracic, 23, and Naser Palislamovic, 36, are charged with “committing a terrorist attack aimed at seriously intimidating the population, coercing the police and destabilising the country’s political, constitutional and social structure,” the prosecutor’s office in Sarajevo said.
It added that the three planned to attack the Bugojno police station “in a premeditated attempt to kill several individuals and cause material damage, knowing that many policemen would be in the building to provide security for a religious event on June 27”.
Tens of thousands of Muslims visited the nearby religious shrine Ajvatovica on Mount Prusac that day to pray during a pilgrimage, seen as the biggest for Muslims in Europe.
The remaining three indictees, Emin Osmanagic, 27, Haris Spago, 40, and Nedzad Kesko, 37, are charged with helping the suspected perpetrators carry out the attack.
The bombing, one of the most serious security incidents in the Balkan country since the war ended, occurred outside a police station, leaving a large crater in its wall and causing damage up to about 300 metres from the site.
Police have recently stepped up efforts to curtail small but vocal Wahhabi groups. In February they raided a community in the northern village of Gornja Maoca and arrested several men whom authorities accuse of trying to destabilise the fragile country.
The prosecutor proposed extending the detention of the six to prevent them from fleeing the country, intimidating the probe or hiding evidence, as well as from influencing witnesses and potential accomplices or committing other criminal acts.
The fight against terrorism and organised crime wer key requirements for visa-free travel for Bosnians to the European Union, which started on Thursday, and remains a condition for closer ties with the bloc.
Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Adam Tanner and Mark Heinrich
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.