'Suicide bombers' held in Bosnia - BBC, UK
- 'Suicide bombers' held in Bosnia
By Nick Hawton
BBC News, Sarajevo
Security has been stepped up at embassies and foreign
agencies in Bosnia following the arrest of two men
accused of planning a suicide attack.
The two individuals, who have been detained under
anti-terrorism laws, are being held in Sarajevo.
One of them is said to have recorded a video reciting
Islamic prayers which may have been intended to be
found following his death.
They were arrested last week but details are only now
The two men hold Swedish and Turkish citizenship but
are believed to have originally come from the former
According to sources close to the investigation, they
were carrying explosives at the time.
Weapons and other military equipment were found at
premises linked to the men.
There is no indication as to what the target of any
attack would have been.
There are 7,000 European Union peacekeepers stationed
in Bosnia as well as several international aid
The two men are being held in prison in Sarajevo while
the investigation continues.
A third man, a Bosnian, was also arrested under
anti-terrorism laws but is being held at separate
The chief international envoy to Bosnia, Lord Ashdown,
described the matter as serious but said the arrests
showed that Bosnia was a capable partner in the
international fight against terrorism.
In the past there have been suspicions that Islamic
extremists may have used Bosnia as a base, but such
suspicions have never been confirmed.
Bosnian Schools Divided on Ethnic Lines
PROZOR-RAMA, Bosnia and Herzegovina, October 24, 2005
(IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) The education
system that has been adopted in Bosnia by the peace
sponsors over 10 years ago is causing more harm than
benefit, with the need growing for eliminating
politics and ethnic divisions from the classroom
before "a practice of open segregation and apartheid"
The 1995 Dayton peace accords ended the war by
splitting Bosnia into two ethnically-based regions,
the Muslim-Croat federation and the Serb Republic,
each enjoying great powers of autonomy.
The federation's education ministry coordinates the
ministries of the entity's 10 cantons. There is also
the neutral Brcko district, bringing the number of
autonomous governments to 13, each with their own,
highly independent education ministry, Reuters says.
The main dividing issue is the curriculum, especially
for sensitive subjects like language, history and
As a concession to post-war nationalism, teaching is
now done in three "national languages": what used to
be known as Serbo-Croat is now
Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian, or "BSC languages" for
short. They still share some 95 percent of their
Depending on background, a child's books would copy
those issued by education ministries in Belgrade or
Zagreb. Some schools use the more moderate
Sarajevo-published books, but not even those are seen
as impartial accounts of national history.
"Too often politics is too much present in the
classrooms," Davidson said. "A country with three
different histories is not a country with a common
view of itself."
There are no provisions for children from mixed
marriages. Despite the delicate footwork, no minority
is content. In the Serb Republic, Muslim children are
taught history in Serbian, as perceived by Serb
historians. If a group is big enough, they are allowed
to bring their own teachers.
The town of Prozor-Rama in central Bosnia showcases
lingering nationalism from the 1992-95 war, its
Muslim-Croat composite name reflecting rival claims on
the land, according to Reuters.
Muslim and Croat students had separate classes in the
same school building. But during the summer the local
council, backed by nationalist Croat and Muslim
parties, voted for a separate school for Muslims.
Croat parents protested and managed to block the plan
after pulling their children out of school.
"We want one school under one name," Mijo Peran,
representative of Croat parents, was quoted by Reuters
as saying. He added Muslims may attend and use their
own curriculum as long as the school is Croat-run and
carries the name of a Croatian poet.
Now, Muslims are threatening to pull out, saying a
Croat-dominated school inherently discriminates
against them. They want either a unified school with
no overriding ethnic character or their own fully
separate school, Reuters said.
The situation is so polarized in these traditional
communities that the Bosnia branch of the Helsinki
Committee for Human Rights is warning against a
"practice of open segregation and apartheid."
Students walk along the same road to school but once
there, Muslim and Croatian children use separate
entrances, file into different classrooms to different
teachers who use conflicting books, says Reuters.
"We don't socialize with them. We only beat them up,"
laughed a 13-year-old Bosnian Croat, loudly approved
by other boys.
The system of "two schools under one roof" was put in
place when refugees started returning to heartland
areas of the Muslim-Croat federation where once
multi-ethnic communities were now clearly dominated by
The plan, which led to the foundation of 54 schools,
aimed to protect minorities against cultural
assimilation. In practice, it brought segregation:
pupils use separate doors or attend classes in shifts,
sitting in rooms bearing the symbols of another
Pressured by Bosnia's Western backers, local officials
agreed to create multicultural schools in 2002. But
political rivalries derailed the plan and some
municipalities are now preparing to separate schools
"It's a shame ... education falls hostage to some
larger political debates that are still unsettled from
the war," Douglas Davidson, head of the Bosnian
mission of the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which oversees education
reform in post-war Bosnia, told Reuters.
The European Union, on its part, has said Bosnia must
reform its education system and eliminate politics
from the classroom if it wants to make progress on the
way to eventual membership.
Similar efforts to unify the entities' separate army
and police took years of preparation and months of
talks under Western pressure. With the clock ticking,
many fear a new generation will become victims of
"The children here have begun to hate each other,"
Kata Tomic, a Bosnian-Croat mother-of-three, told
Luka Faleta, the sports teacher in the Prozor school
warned that "instead of bringing the children
together, we are driving them apart".
The Bosnian war ended in November 1995 after marathon
US-led negotiations in Dayton, Ohio, led by US
President Bill Clinton 's Bosnia envoy Richard
Clinton was the key advocate of NATO air strikes
against Bosnian Serbs in September 1995 that forced
them to sit down at the negotiating table.
The peace accord split Bosnia into two
highly-autonomous entities - the Serbs' Republika
Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation - and brought
in NATO-led peacekeepers to maintain security.
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