(Reuters) – Flags and emblems of Islamic State, pictured on Wednesday on houses in a Bosnian village, disappeared on Thursday under threat of action by police wary of the dangers posed by radical Islamists returning from Syria and Iraq.
The village of Gornja Maoca in northeastern Bosnia is home to followers of the strict Sunni Islam Wahhabi movement, and has been raided by police several times over the past decade due to suspected links with radical Islamist groups.
Most Muslims in Bosnia are either secular or practice a moderate form of Islam. But more hardline versions have found a growing following among younger generations, particularly in rural areas, and police say up to 180 Bosnians, including women and children, have left for Syriaover the past three years to join Islamic State.
On Wednesday, a Reuters photographer took pictures of Islamic State flags flying from several homes in the village, and symbols painted on a wood shed.
On Thursday, Bosnia’s state prosecution said it had ordered security forces to search the village. They came away empty-handed.
“During the activities undertaken, ISIS flags were not found displayed,” the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) said in a statement. It gave no further details.