Serbian Raid on Terrorist Camp in Raska
Highlights Links With Bosnian, Other Jihadist Terror Groups
Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis - April 3, 2007 Tuesday
Note: A number of Serbo-Croat accents are used in this report; they may not appear on all computers
Exclusive. By Darko Trifunovic, GIS Station Belgrade. Significant links to Bosnian-based terrorist groups with international connections have begun to emerge since the arrest on March 17, 2007, of four men linked to a Wahhabist terrorist camp discovered near the city of Novi Pazar in Serbia's southern Raska (or Sandzak) region, close to the Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) and Montenegro borders, and close to the Serbian province of Kosovo.
Police found a huge cache of plastic explosives equipped with trigger mechanisms, various caliber bullet rounds, protective masks, several kinds of military uniforms and hand grenades in the camp and a cave 30km from Novi Pazar (literally "New Bazaar"). Significantly, GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs had noted the radicalization of Raska in the early 1990s, but a GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily report of October 15, 2003, entitled "Strong Warning Indicators for New Surge in European Islamist Terrorism", noted, among other important information on the region:
Much of the new round of Islamist activity is centering on the southern Serbian (Raska) city of Novi Pazar (literally "New Bazaar"). This city of some 30,000 people is approximately 80 percent Muslim. It has one of the most radical Islamist bookstores in the world, and the store is doing brisk business. Here, the principal business of the city is crime: illegal smuggling of consumer goods, heroin and weapons. It is a Middle Eastern city within a countryside populated by Orthodox Christian Serbian farmers. [During Turkish occupation, it was necessary for inhabitants to adopt Islam in order gain work in the cities; thus the farmers remained Orthodox, the citydwellers became Muslim.]
Novi Pazar is the focus of the Islamist attempt to build a landbridge from Albania and Kosovo to Bosnia. Further to the East, in southern Serbia's Raska Oblast, are three other concentrations of Muslims: Sjenica and Pester area (lightly populated but mostly Muslim), Prijepolje (some 50 percent Muslim) and -- very close to the Bosnia border where Republica Srpska controls the slender Gorazde corridor -- Priboj (also some 50 percent Muslim). The land between is Serbian farmland, but the Islamist goal is to link the cities as "evidence" that the entire region is, or should be, Muslim territory. The same strategy worked successfully in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where Serbian farmers were driven off their lands during the civil war.
Just south of the Serbian area of Raska Oblast is the Montenegrin part of Raska region, where, for example, Bijeljo Polje is some 60 to 80 percent Muslim, and Pijevlja, close to the Bosnian border, is about 40 percent Muslim. These Montenegrin towns, like those of the Western Serbian Raska region, are the key to the illicit arms and narcotrafficking across the Gorazde Corridor to Bosnia.
The four arrested by Serbian Police on March 17, 2007, were identified as Mirsad Prenti , Fuad Hod i , Vahid Vejselovi and Senad Vejselovi , all members of the Muslim Wahhabi movement from Novi Pazar. One suspect managed to escape during the raid and police said they were searching for him. Significantly, Serbian Government officials had been reluctant for some years to send police or military units in to Raska -- and particularly into Novi Pazar -- to arrest militants for fear of a backlash from the Islamist community. Now, however, with the secession of Montenegro and the growing international pressure to carve Kosovo away from Serbia, Raska -- still part of Serbia -- is becoming the most critical conduit into Western Europe for the transit of illicit narcotics, weapons, and terrorists from Albanian strongholds in Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, and Montenegro.
Among the material confiscated in the camp near Novi Pazar on March 17, 2007, police also discovered printed terrorist propaganda, military survival manuals, medical supplies, a sabre, compasses, binoculars and maps. The police said that the raid that took several days to execute, and that they would continue with "intensive action to identify and locate organizers and members of this terrorist group".
All but one of the arrested men were bearded in the fashion of jihadis, but all were white Europeans. Their campsite, with a Wahhabist flag (similar to a Saudi Arabian flag, only black), was jury-rigged with plastic sheeting.
During and after police action, there were a numbers of Wahhabists in the location where camp was discovered and in the large region. Most of them escape into nearby Bosnia, across the so-called "Gorazde Corridor". The location of the camp was carefully selected to be near three borders (Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia).
GIS has obtained details of the locations and names of several individuals and groups operating in Bosnia in relation to the Sandzak (Raska) group:
1. City of Bugojno Wahhabist group:
Elvedin Imsirevi , residing in Bugojno; a graduate of the electro-technical faculty in Sarajevo, BiH;
Nihad Beganovi , residing in Bugojno; a graduate of the religious school in Medina;
Emir Imamovi , son of Tahira, born January 2, 1973; residing in Bugojno, on D. Kara e bb street;
Semir Imamovi , residing in Bugojno; a graduate Religious school in Medina;
Smajih D ihan, residing in Bugojno; a graduate of the electro-technical faculty in Sarejevo;
Haris Muji , residing in Bugojno; a graduate of the religious school in Medina;
Edin Mrkonja, was charge of terrorism activities for the group and spent several years in jail in Zenica;
Muhidin Omanovi , fluent in Arabic, worked as translator in the mujahedin village of Bocinja. He was sentenced and spent several year in the jail in Zenica on terrorism charges;
Amir Kero, son of Faika, born October 22, 1974, in the Bugojno village of Glavice bb.
2. District Donji Vakuf:
Mustafa Sultanovi ;
Abdulmalik Basi , a graduate in sharia law in Qatar;
Omer Basi , from the city of Donji Vakuf;
Sabit uki ;
Nermin uki ;
Senad Imo anin, son of Mustafe, born August 1,1965; from the city of Jajce, residing in the village Doganovi i, district of Donji Vakuf,
3. City of Novi Travnik:
Zero Ali ;
Almir Ali ;
Asim Ramulj, alias Talha, sentenced on terrorism charges and spent several years in Zenica jail;
"Fahrudin" (other names not known), graduate from a religious school in Jordan;
Semin Rizvi , son of Halila, born January 28, 1970; residing in Novi Travnik area of Bistro;
Sabahudin Krnji , son of Muja, born June 4, 1966; residing in the village of Margeti i, Novi Travnik;
Amir Seter, son of Osme, born August 29, 1973; residing in Novi Travnik, Kolinska bb street.
4. City of Jajce:
Ismir Karaga, graduate from a religious school in Jordan;
Hidajet Karaga, residing in the city of Zenica;
Meho Buljubasi ;
Enver Deli , sentenced of terrorism charges and spent several years in Zenica jail;
Enes Koki , sentenced of terrorism charges and spent several years in Zenica jail.
5. City of Zenica:
Muris Ljubun i , a suspect in the murder of policeman Ante Valjana in the city of Travnik; freed for "lack of evidence";
D evad Muratovi ;
Munib ajvakovi ;
Ismet Fazli ;
Sabahudin Alihod a;
Nedim Hara i ;
Muris Supi ;
Muamer Lutvi ;
Nezo Abdulme id,
6. City of Travnik:
D evad Rujanac, predsjednik AIO Travnik, born June 8, 1973; residing in the city of Travnik, Guvna bb street;
Ezher Beganovi , former President of Active Islamic Youth, born June 11, 1966, in the city of Travnik, work for Islamic youth magazine Saff ; suspect in the murder of policeman Ante Valjana in Travnik;
Halil Islamovi , residing in village of Turbetu, city of Travnik; suspect for the murder of policeman Ante Valjana in Travnik, but freed because of "lack of evidence";
Ned ad Peco;
Sefik Jusupovi , born April 16, 1967. in the village of Maljine, Travnik;
Zelota emal, born June 1, 1965, in the village of Braji i, Tranvik;
Zuki Ned ad, born October 14, 1972, in Travnik;
Cikoti Aljo, born May 25, 1969, in the city of Ivangrad, Montenegro;
Markovi Muhamed, born September 21, 1961, in the city of Kotor Varos; residing in village Pode, Travnik;
Abdibegovi Nusret, born November 18, 1957, in the village of Prusac, city of Donji Vakuf; residing in itarnica broj 5, Travnik;
Zuki Edin, born September 16, 1975, in the village of Zuki i, Travnik, Bojna bb street;
Trganovi Sefik, born January 4, 1971, in the city of Kotor Varos;
Aliho a Nurudin, born August 18, 1974, in the village Alihod e, Travnik;
Rubanovi Esad, born July 13, 1973;
Seter Selman, born August 18, 1973;
Edin Seter, son of Huse, born July 5, 1971, in Travnik, Karaula-Seteri;
Muradif Smaji , son of Fehima, born September 25, 1969; residing in the village of Mudrike, Travnik;
Sahbaz Hod i , son of Velage, born February 11, 1962; residing in Travnik, Poljanice bb street.
Wahhabist Terrorist Activities in Brcko District of Bosnia-Herzegovina:
According to GIS sources, in the middle of January 2007, from the direction of Tuzla, two buses with about 100 strong, well-built men on board, dressed in Wahhabist style, arrived at Karavlasi, a small place known by the strong presence of Islamic fundamentalists, near the town of Brcko. Before the ethnic cleansing, carried out during the civil war in Bosnia, the village Karavlasi was populated by the Gypsies (Roma) of the Christian Orthodox faith. The current population of this village, as well as of a series of other villages such as the village of Maoca, are known for their religious fanaticism as Wahhabists. In Karavlasi, special attention is paid to terrorist-guerilla training of the so-called "White Islamists", Muslims from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Sources indicated that much of the terrorist training and organization is developing under new guidelines, and is directly linked to funding by criminal activities, largely narco-trafficking. Of key importance has been the fact that international organizations, and particularly charitable non-governmental organizations (NGOs), other than those linked to the Wahhabist movements, have, over recent years, been so closely monitored and pressured that they no longer have access to, or sight of, the embedded areas of terrorist training.
The arrival of the three busloads of men in Karavlasi related to information that terrorist Islamic fundamentalist groups were getting ready to enter Western Europe, particularly into Italy, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, upon the completion of their religious-military training. According to the GIS source, at the end of December 2006, Hussein ef. Kavazovic<1>, the Tuzla town mufti came to the Wahhabi training camp, accompanied by a person (whose identity is unknown, but he was of Saudi Arabian origin). This person presented himself by the alias "Sheik" . Mufti Kavazovic took this person across Bosnia and Herzegovina. The end of their tour was in the village of Maoca near the city of Brcko, where, according to the GIS source, "Sheik" gave a large sum of money to fund the creation of small groups of terrorist instructors; six to eight people each, which were to be sent to the Western European countries.
Effendi Kavazovic was in constant contact with Iranian diplomats in Sarajevo (and had a personal friendship with Mahmut Heidari), as well as with Mohsen Mirhadi, the director of the Iranian "humanitarian" organization "Birds".
Jasmin Ibrisimovic<2> is considered the person in charge of logistics and sending these groups to the Western countries. Jasmin Ibrisimovic is a computer specialist, and besides Arabic, speaks two more languages (presumably English and German). He was in charge of organizing the visit of Mufti Kavazovic and "Sheik" to Maoca. According to the available data, he has a younger sister, Leila, and his parents are in Switzerland. By operative field working, it has been established as fact that he is in frequent personal contact with Zijo Poljo, and other persons from that group in of the White Mosque building in Kolobara, a project in the city of Brcko.
Enes Mujkanovic is thought to be the main leader of Islamic Fundamentalists and the Wahhabi in the Brcko Area. His house is at the very entrance to the village of Maoca. It is the10<th> or 12<th> house in a row, upon entering the Village. According to a source, large quantities of arms, explosives, and other explosive devices are stored in his basement. Together with a group of Wahhabists, Enes Mujkanovic comes to the village Karavlahe-Upper Maoca from the mujahedin village of Bocinja, after they were expelled from the village by the decision of the authorities.
The Police do not enter the village of Maoca and other villages for two reasons:
There is fear of armed resistance; ie: a conflict of larger proportion;
There is a conflict of jurisdictions between the Police of Brcko District, and the Police Unit of the BiH Federation (ie: the national police) from Srebrenik.
This situation of complete "autonomy" goes in favor of the Islamists because they carry out their training practice in religious and military sense undisturbed. The local Muslim population does not much like the Wahhabists. The local foresters (who are Muslims) regularly report to the Brcko District Police that automatic weapon shots, and explosions can be heard during the night from the direction of the mentioned villages in which the Islamic Fundamentalists live.
Further, facts proving that in the highest levels of authorities in Sarajevo, there are people who make possible and give support to the mentioned and similar activities also go in favor of the undisturbed development and actions of these religious fanatics. This primarily refers to Haris Silajdzic, who was an actual member of the BiH Presidency. His sister Salidza Silajdzic is married in Iran, believed to be to a high ranking officer of the VEVAK (Ministry of Intelligence), and his brother, Husref Silajdzic, is thought to be an agent of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). New information speaks about the fact that Haris Silajdzic has been trying to restart the work of "Patriot League".<3> The center of "Patriot League" is to be in Sarajevo with Gen. Vahid Karavelic as its head.
According to GIS sources, the "Patriot League" representative in Brcko is Farid Mujkanovic, a former JNA officer. Farid Mujkanovic graduated from Military Academy. He was the CO of the 108<th> HVO (Croatian Council of Defense) Brigade in the Bosnian part of the River Sava Region in the former Bosnia-Herzegovina. He planned, prepared, and gave orders for the attacks on Bukovac and Bukvik during the BiH civil war in the 1990s. Civilians, and wounded men were killed in those attacks, and the property of local population and of the Serbian Orthodox Church looted and destroyed. The people living in this region were taken away from their homes to already prepared concentration camps where they were inhumanely treated, and the women were raped (the rape of Zeljka Rajcic in Maoca, in the headquarters building, by Mohammad Vilic has been documented). Hamiz Sadic, Bajram Sapi, Raif Miftari and Sead Delic, all of them former commissioned officers of the JNA (Yugoslav National Army), along with Gen. Karavelic, were above Farid Mujkanovic in the Islamic fundamentalist chain of command.
Both Gen. Karavelic and Farid Mujkanovic were interviewed by the members of then Military Counterintelligence Service in 1987, because of their connections with VEVAK. These two are believed to be the people of the utmost trust when the military training of Islamic fundamentalists is in question in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the Brcko District. In addition, together with these two, one more name, Zijo Poljo<4>, is mentioned as a "man of Haris Silajdzic's trust". Zijo Poljo lived in Germany (Baden-Baden) where he was the owner of a sports center "Poljo". Currently, he is in charge of physical fitness (martial arts, boxing and taekwondo) of the Wahhabists. Along with this, he is in oil, gas, and other oil-derivative trading business. Through his connections in the Czech Republic, Zijo Poljo procures arms, which he takes to Bosnia-Herzegovina through the Republic of Croatia. He has a very strong position in the Albanian Embassy in Sarajevo and enjoys their active protection. Zijo is in close connection with Senad Causevic who is justifiably believed to be one of the main drug dealers in the Brcko District. He gets narcotics from Bulgaria, through certain channels.
The organized chain of the Islamists who have control over the Wahhabi in Brcko also include the following persons:
Munib Jusufovic<5>, the first Haris Silajdzic's assistant in Brcko, and the Party Secretary in BH. During the War, he was the leader of the Muslims in the federal part of Brcko. He is suspected of numerous crimes against Serbs.
Suvad Masic<6> is considered the main operative to Munib Jusufovic. Currently he works with the Treasury Section of Brcko District. He is a known extremist. He was found guilty and convicted on several counts of violent behavior but due to his strong connections with Haris Silajdzic, he was given an appointment with the Government of Brcko District.
Ismet Dedejic<7> (from Rozaje, by origin) in charge of funding the "net". The Brcko District Court of the First Instance found him guilty of abuse of authority, and sentenced him to KM 20,000 fine. He is the co-owner of PP "Italproject" Company. During the BiH civil war, together with his family, he lived in Sweden and in Turkey. Dedejic's close relative Miraz Dedejic is the Archbishop of the Illegitimate "Montenegrin Orthodox Church". Ismet Dedejic enjoyed the full trust of the former Brcko District Supervisor.
Susan Johnson. Susan Johnson, a citizen of the US, was a grantee of a Fulbright scholarship. She came to the former SFR Yugoslavia on a Fulbright grant to do a research project: "Folklore Ethnology of the Macedonians from around Kostur". To point out the irony, Kostur is a Greek village and not Yugoslav. Susan speaks fluent Serbo-Croat, Macedonian, Albanian, Bulgarian, and Greek. She frequently traveled to Kosovo at the time of the unrest there. She was apprehended by the Serbian Police in the forbidden border zone and returned to Skopje, Macedonia.
Jasmin Tatarevic, Father's name: Mevludin from Brcko. Currently employed by the Government of Brcko District as Chief of the Mine Sweeping Team.
1. Hussein ef. Kavazovic is 34 years old. At the beginning of the war, he was a khoja, a Muslim priest in the town of Gradacac, who realizes that "it is not the time for 'ahmedia '", so he took up arms to form "Khoja ", a unit of Islamic fundamentalists in which, as members, there were other imams . They undertook the Islamic education of the youth in Gradacac. Mufti Kavazovic passed his six-month long military experience acquired in Turije, an HVO (Croatian military) training camp near the town of Konjic, with other members of the Islamic church congregation. He is known by the religious disqualification of his opponents, and his war authority as being a "khoja from the trenches", which made him known as an Islamic leader who openly opts for the armed conflict, based on the Islamic principles.
2. Jasmin Ibrisimovic, son of Dzevad, born in Brcko, July 9, 1967. Resides in Klanac 2/I, a compound in Brcko, PIN: 0907967181515.
3. Patriot League is a paramilitary organization of the Bosnian Muslims, at the beginning of Civil War in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is established as a party organization by Gen. Sefer Halilovic and his associates, on May 2, 1991, and not later than June 10, 1991, the meeting of Bosnian public servants from the whole Yugoslavia is held in the Militia Hall. Many criminal elements that show their patriotism by attacking people of nationality different from their own enter this organization. They disguise their own goals as preserving the sovereignty of Bosnia-Herzegovina and its borders, and protecting the Muslim population in case of war.
4. Zijad Poljo, alias "Zijo", son of Hasan and Dervisa (maiden name Dervisevic), born January 3, 1966, in Rajevo Village, Republic Croatia, resident of Brcko, 33, Abdulaha Bukvice Street, a Bosnian, citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina, literate, auto body painter, married, the father of two underage children, served in armed forces in Bileca, 1985, lieutenant, not registered in military records, not decorated, of average financial status, not sentenced by a court of law, currently prosecuted for a felony, PIN: 0301966181613.
5. Father's name: Mujo. Born February 17, 1948, in Seliste, Plevlja Community, Sandzak. PIN: 1702948181515, home address: Brcko, Mushvina Ruzvica bb. As stated, he was on the Staff of 108th ABH Brigade during the War.
6. Suvad Masic, Father's name: Husna, born March 3, 1967, in Vukosavlje. PIN: 0703967330079
7. Ismet Dedejic, Father's name: Ibis, born May 3, 1947, in Rozaje, Republic Montenegro. Resident of Brcko, 27 Mujdanovacka Street, PIN: 0305947181519. currently works for the Government of the Brcko District.
Copyright 2007 Defense & Foreign
Affairs/International Strategic Studies Association
Reprinted with Permission.