News 15 Jan 13

Bosnia Officials Condemn War Memorial Blast

The night-time attack which destroyed a monument to Bosnian Army war casualties in the town of Mostar has sparked concerns from international officials and former fighters.

Denis Dzidic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Bosnia’s international envoy described the destruction of the memorial in the early hours of January 14 as “callous and cowardly” and warned against further violence.

“The rule of law must be upheld in Mostar,” the High Representative for Bosnia, Valentin Inzko, said in a statement.

Inzko called on leaders of all communities to condemn the attack and try to calm any tensions.

“Right-thinking citizens in Mostar will agree that callous and cowardly attacks must not be allowed to impede the process of creating a functional and integrated Mostar, which is fundamental to the post-war recovery of Bosnia,” he said.

Most Bosnian political parties have issued statements condemning the attacks and calling for calm in Mostar, as have representatives of local Bosnian Army associations.

A group of former fighters’ unions in Mostar called the incident “an act of terror”. 

“We are sad and bitter but not surprised. They have been killing us for 20 years. This is only the latest day on which the peace and dignity of those fallen has been usurped,” its statement said.

EU delegation spokesperson Andy McGuffie asked police to work quickly to find the perpetrators.

"We welcome the condemnations of this act already issued and call on the local authorities and community leaders to continue to exercise restraint and address issues through dialogue," said McGuffie.

Mostar police said the investigation was continuing but could not offer further details.

"Our police investigators are actively working. We are talking to witnesses and trying to determine who saw which car and where. We are also reviewing video footage from the neighboring building’s security cameras," said police spokesperson Srecko Bosnjak.

Bosniak and Croat politicians in Mostar have often quarrelled over the memorial, as well as another in the town that honours members of the Croat wartime force in Bosnia, the HVO.

Since the war in the 1990s, Mostar has remained informally divided between its eastern, Bosniak part and its western, Croat one.

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