Montenegro to Keep Track of ISIS Threat

news
21 Jul 15
Montenegro to Keep Track of ISIS Threat

Montenegrin intelligence service data have revealed that six Montenegrin nationals are currently fighting alongside ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica

The Parliament of Montenegro

Parliament’s Security and Defence Committee on Monday uged the National Security Agency to continue to keep track of Islamic extremism and radicalism in the light of the activities of the Islamic State in Balkans.

Mulling the annual report of the intelligence service, the chairman, Melvudin Nuhodzic, said that monitoring should be carried out throught intensive cooperation with regional and partner agencies and through joint operations.

He revealed the latest data, which say six Montenegrins are fighting in Syria and Iraq and one in Ukraine.

“It is very important that the competent authorities monitor each case but those are individual cases, not an organized and significant phenomenon in Montenegro,” he said after the committee’s closed session.

An Islamist video published last week by unknown authors on YouTube called for the creation of an Islamic caliphate in the Western Balkans and the destruction of democracy.

The video called for terrorist activities throughout the region, the downfall of democracy in all these countries would be destroyed and establishment of sharia law in its place.

In June, an earlier video released by ISIS called on more Balkan fighters to join their ranks – and for supports who do not go to fight in the Middle East to maim, kill and poison unbelievers in their home countries.

Nuhodzic said that those threats should not be overestimated underestimated. “Internet performances have a propaganda effect, spreading fear,” he noted.

In December 2014, the European Parliament’s Rapporteur for Montenegro, Charles Tannock, said Montenegrin security agencies were monitoring over 300 people suspected of links to terrorists.

The government later denied this, saying the intelligence agencies were monitoring an “insignificant number”. In October 2014, authorities said only 13 citizens from Montenegro had gone to fight alongside ISIS in Syria.

One of them, Damir Slakovic from the coastal town of Bar, was killed in July in a bomb attack in the area between Syria and Iraq, local media reported. In June, the Syrian war cost the life Mirza Haklaj from Podgorica, who was one of the actors in ISIL’s video.

Responding to the threat in the region, Montenegro has adopted a law punishing illegal participants in foreign conflicts with up to 10 years in jail.

In June, the leader of the junior governing Bosniak party in Montenegro, Rafet Husovic, called on the citizens of Montenegro, especially Muslims, not to fall for provocations by the Islamic state, stating that “some individuals are attempting to cause tensions.”

Muslims – mainly Bosniaks and Albanians – make up around 19 per cent of the population of the country but there is little tradition of religious radicalism in these communities.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)