Citizenships revoked to Bosnian Jihadists

Under pressure from western states over fears it may become a European base for Islamic terror cells, Bosnia is revoking citizenship it granted to hundreds of foreign Muslims who came to the country to fight the Serbs and Croats in the wars of the 1990s. Many of the Johadists have married local Bosnian Muslim women.
The announcement that the first batch of passports had been cancelled coincided last week with the decision of a Bosnian court to convict four men of planning a bomb attack on an unspecified European target.

“So far we have revoked 330 citizenships,” said Vjekoslav Vukovic, the head of a commission established to review the granting of about 1,500 passports since 1991.

“The majority of them are from African and Asian countries,” Mr Vukovic said of the people whose citizenship had been revoked, adding that some 500 cases were still pending.

Hundreds of Muslim men arrived in Bosnia to fight as mujahideen, or “holy warriors”, during a 1991-1995 war with Serbs and Croats, and many obtained citizenship afterwards by marrying local women or as a reward for their service to the Bosnian Muslims. The worst atrocities against Christians have been committed by these foreign fighters and not one has been indicted by the Hague court.

Bosnia has come under suspicion in recent years as a potential base for terror cells and organisations that raise and launder money for groups linked to al-Qaeda.

Last week, two Bosnians, a Swede and a Turkish man were convicted of travelling to Bosnia to prepare a terrorist attack against a European target, with the intention of forcing western troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. A fifth man was jailed last May after admitting involvement in the same plot.

Six Algerians were arrested in Bosnia in late 2001, on suspicion of planning attacks on the country’s US and British embassies. They have been held in the US-run Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba since early in 2002.

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