Montenegro Vows Crackdown After Jihadist Threats

04 May 15

Montenegro Vows Crackdown After Jihadist Threats

The government pledged tough action against suspected jihadists after a Montenegrin citizen who claimed to be a member of ISIS threatened three Muslim members of the country’s parliament.

Dusica Tomovic


Senior Montenegrin officials have urged the prosecution to take action after the online threats against the three MPs and local religious leaders by the jihadist who claimed to be a member of ISIS, local media reported on Sunday.

Dusko Markovic, deputy Prime Minister in charge of security, and Interior Minister Rasko Konjevic expressed concern that Montenegrins who join Islamist groups could endanger the state, so those who go to fight in foreign conflicts should be punished.

“The reaction must be political, social and economic,” Markovic told newspaper Dnevne Novine.

The threats were made on Facebook on Friday by a man called Damir Slakovic, who said he joined ISIS last year and had fought for the radical jihadi group in the Middle East.

Slakovic called MPs Azra Jasavic, Rifat Rastoder and Dritan Abazovic “renegades who think they are Muslims”. He also said that jihadists would take revenge action in his hometown of Bar.

“Islamic State, with Allah’s permission and help, will arrive there and will clean up this city [Bar] and Islam in it from the dirt and lies that you’re telling and practicing,” his message said.

He also threatened Muslim leaders in Bar, saying that “unless they repent and turned to true Islam, followers of IS will have no mercy for them”.

Suljo Mustafic, an official of the Bosniak Party, which is part of Montenegro’s governing coalition, said that Slakovic’s threats must be treated seriously.

Opposition leader Nebojsa Medojevic claimed meanwhile that the unresolved Bosniak issue in Montenegro provides “ground for terrorism”.”

“Only a Bosniak with a national, religious and civic dignity, who is respected, will not be prey to terrorists, extremist ideology and become a threat to national security,” Medojevic said.

In March, Montenegro adopted a law punishing participation in foreign conflicts with up to 10 years in jail – part of the government’s measures aimed at tackling the issue of Montenegrins heading to the Middle East and fighting for Islamist extremists.

The law criminalises persons who “organize, recruit, finance, encourage, lead or train people or groups of people” with the goal of joining or participating in foreign conflict.

The latest data released by the National Security Agency in October 2014 said 13 citizens from Montenegro had gone to fight alongside radical Muslim forces in Syria.

Ten have since returned, one has been killed and two others are still on the battlefield, it is believed.

In December, the European Parliament Rapporteur for Montenegro, Charles Tannock, said Montenegrin security agencies were monitoring over 300 people suspected of links to terrorists. The government denied this, saying the intelligence agencies were monitoring an “insignificant number”.

Muslims make up about 19 per cent of the population of Montenegro. Most are Bosniaks and ethnic Albanians. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Albania are the main recruiting grounds in the Balkans for radical Islamists.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)