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News 06 Nov 17

Bosnian City Demands Answers for Whistle-Blower’s Killing

Protesters in Banja Luka on Monday demanded belated justice for the murder of Milan Vukelic, who was killed ten years ago in a crime committed by still unknown perpetrators.

BIRN
Banja Luka
Illustration - City Assembly in Banja Luka. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

On the 10th anniversary of the murder of civil engineer Milan Vukelic, a group of citizens on Monday took part in a peaceful march in the capital of the mostly Serbian entity, Republika Srpska, carrying banners reading: “Who killed Milan Vukelic?”

The outspoken critic of the entity government who is widely considered a victim of both politics and the entity’s construction mafia, was killed on November 6, 2007, by a car bomb in Banja Luka, planted by still unknown perpetrators.

“We want to remind citizens that on this day, ten years ago, an innocent man was killed near the Ministry of Internal Affairs and no one has been held responsible”, Stefan Blagic, head of the civic association ReStart Srpska, told BIRN.

At the time of his murder, Vukelic, 47, was employed by the government-owned Banja Luka Construction Institute, BLCI, a company involved in a large number of building projects in the city.

But he was outspoken about the irregularities in BLCI and in city government contracting generally.

Prior to his murder, Vukelic is believed to have received numerous death threats from individuals who had tried to silence him. 

Journalist Miljan Kovac, who worked closely with Vukelic just before his death, told local broadcaster BN over the weekend that solving the crime would expose the mafia regime of Milorad Dodik, the President of the RS. “This crime had all the forms of a terrorist act,“ Kovac said.

He added that prior to his death Vukelic had personally turned to the then entity interior minister, Stanislav Cadjo, to seek protection, which he did not receive.

Over the past few years, financial troubles have brought BLCI to the brink of bankruptcy.

Media have speculated that this, too, was the work of the construction mafia, headed by men close to Dodik, and who are said who have financial interests in seeing the once construction giant crumble.

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