March 11, 2019 / 6:08 PM / 13 days ago

Bosnia will take back and try two captured Islamic state fighters

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bosnia is preparing to take back two of its nationals who are suspected of fighting for Islamic State in Syria and are now in detention in a Kurdish-run camp in the north of that country, its security minister said on Monday.

Hundreds of people are believed to have left Europe to fight for Islamic State in Syria and Iraq but, with the Islamist militant group down to its last shred of territory, more and more of them are asking to come home.

U.S. President Donald Trump has asked the European allies to take back more than 800 IS fighters who have been captured and to put them on trial. [L5N20C01T] But many countries, citing security concerns, are unwilling to allow their return.

Dragan Mektic said that security agencies had checked the identity of some people captured and detained in Syria, and that two of them were confirmed to be the Bosnian nationals.

“Interpol international warrants have been issued for them,” said Mektic, who declined to reveal their identity.

Sarajevo-based Klix.ba news portal reported that the two men could be Ibro Cefurovic, 24, from the northwestern town of Velika Kladusa, and Armin Curt, 22, from Sarajevo, who both were detained by the Kurdish militia more than a year ago.

“We are now working on technical details related to their concrete transfer,” Mektic said, adding they could be flown to Bosnia by the end of March and then immediately handed over to prosecutors.

According to a 2014 criminal code law, all Bosnians who leave the country to fight in foreign wars must be processed under terrorism charges.

Bosnia’s state court has tried and convicted 46 people who have returned from Syria or Iraq in the past few years.

According to Bosnian intelligence, 241 adults and 80 children left Bosnia or the Bosnian diaspora in 2012-2016 for Syria and Iraq, where 150 more children were born. About 100 adults, including 49 women, remained there while at least 88 have been killed or died.

Several women with children have pleaded with the Bosnian authorities to be allowed to return home but there is still no clear policy in place on how to deal with them because their children do not hold Bosnian citizenship. [L5N20R4SH]

There have been reports that other Bosnian nationals were captured during the fall of the remaining Islamic State enclave last week.

Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Gareth Jones

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