News 17 Sep 14

Sandzak’s Facebook ‘Army’ Causes Alarm in Serbia

Invitations to people on Facebook to join the so-called "Army of Sandzak" in a Bosniak-majority region of Serbia have prompted calls for prosecutors to investigate.

B92, Tanjug, Blic
'Army of Sandzak' Facebook page.

Branko Stamenkovic, a prosecutor for high technology crime, has ordered Serbian police to gather information about the people behind the Facebook pages called "Army of Sandzak".

There are several pages bearing the name of Sandzak Army, mostly set up in the last couple of weeks. None has more than 120 members.

Apart from calls to form an independent Republic of Sandzak and an army, the posts urge people to join up and to show the world “who the sons of Sandzak are".

“There are certain indications that prosecutors could deal with this matter. After we collect all information, we will address the public," Stamenkovic told TV B92 on Wednesday.

The Army of Sandzak has allegedly been formed to protect the region's Bosniak majority and the territory of Sandzak in the country's south-west from attacks by Serbian nationalists.

Some members of the movement also used Facebook to announce they are planning to organise a march through Novi Pazar, the main town in the region.

Tensions rose recently in the town following a parade of around 30 young men dressed in green shirts and trousers, accompanying Sandzak mufti Muamer Zukorlic while marking the 70th anniversary of a mass killing of Bosniaks under the Communist regime.

Some politicians accused mufti Zukorlic of misusing youngsters for political purposes.

“After these pictures in the heart of Europe, when fear of growing islamic radicalism is on the rise, no investors will want to come to Sandzak," Rasim Ljajic, Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister, who is from the area, told the Blic daily on September 6.

The organisers claimed the youngsters were not dressed in paramilitary uniforms but in traditional costumes.

“The activists of the Islamic Community dressed in green because green is the colour of Islam. They wore fezes on their heads because that is the Bosniaks’ traditional hat," they told Blic shortly after the event.

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