Conservative Muslim Village Raided By Bosnian Cops

By: Almir Arnaut, Aida Cerkez-Robinson, & Dusan Stojanovic - AP Writers
By: Almir Arnaut, Aida Cerkez-Robinson, & Dusan Stojanovic - AP Writers

GORNJA MAOCA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) - A remote Bosnian village that is home to highly conservative Wahhabi Muslims was raided Tuesday by hundreds of police who said they were searching for an unspecified security threat.

The Office of the State Prosecutor said the raid in the northeastern village of Gornja Maoca was the largest police operation in Bosnia since the 1992-1995 war that killed tens of thousands and left millions homeless as Muslim Bosnians, Christian Orthodox Serbs and Roman Catholic Croats clashed.

Office spokesman Boris Grubesic said police detained seven people - six Bosnians and one foreigner whose nationality he did not reveal. Grubesic also said officers confiscated weapons, computers and DVDs.

The isolated village is home to ethnic Bosnian families belonging to the Wahhabi sect - an austere brand of Sunni Islam promoted by extremists, including the Taliban, Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida fighters. Some of the villagers had fought in Bosnia's war.

About 600 police officers raided the village looking for people suspected of "jeopardizing Bosnia's constitutional order and spreading national, racial and religious hatred," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Several police vehicles were seen leaving the area with some of the residents sitting in back seats, among them the leader of the community, Nusret Imamovic.

The residents were hostile toward reporters who entered the village after the police left. They asked the media to leave immediately and escorted their convoy out of the village.

The residents are farmers who refuse to watch television or use telephones. They say they do not like to mix with anyone outside of their community. Their children do not attend public schools - itself a violation of the Bosnian laws.


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