Last month, over 500 Bosnian police raided the village of Gornja Maoca. This isolated hamlet used to be full of Serbs. But the Serbs were driven out, and replaced by several hundred Islamic conservatives during the 1990s civil war. Some of the new residents were foreign Moslems who had come to Bosnia in the 1990s to help local Moslems fight for Bosnian independence (from Serb and Croatian neighbors.) While most of the foreign Moslems went home after the fighting ended and Bosnian independence was assured in the late 1990s, several hundred stayed. Many married local women, and over a thousand locals were persuaded to adopt the strict form of Wahhabi Islam the foreigners practiced. Al Qaeda practiced Wahhabi Islam, and the Bosnian Wahhabis are suspected of supporting al Qaeda. Some have been caught doing just that. Over the last few years, dozens of these radical Bosnian Moslems have been arrested on terrorism charges. Italy has found evidence that some Bosnian based terrorists were planning attacks in Italy.
Gornja Maoca was in an isolated area of northern Bosnia, and the residents discouraged visitors. NATO commanders advised their peacekeepers to steer clear of the place. Bosnian officials found that they were not welcome in Gornja Maoca either. The February raid was conducted to search the place and find out just what was going on. Evidence of terrorist activity was found, and seven arrests were made. Weapons and terrorist propaganda were seized. The government will now monitor Gornja Maoca on a regular basis, if only to keep NATO (and Western aid donors in general) happy.