Bosnia government officials said Friday that U.S. intelligence director John Brennan had arrived in Sarajevo on an unannounced visit to meet anti-terrorism officials.
The CIA director arrived from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he met with senior officials from six Arab nations aimed at coordinating efforts in the conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
Bosnia’s chief prosecutor and head of the country’s anti-terrorism group, Goran Salihovic, told media that the visit was a “great honor” and that his group will inform the CIA chief about how it is coordinating its anti-terrorism efforts. The group is made up of the heads of several agencies, including police, the prosecution office and border police.
According to the group, 124 Bosnians are fighting in foreign wars – four in Ukraine and the others in Syria and Iraq for the Islamic State group. Efforts to stop people from going to Syria have recently reduced the number of those leaving. Many who are now there want to return home and are negotiating with the government on how to do that. They know they face jail terms in Bosnia, but if they cooperate, they will get milder sentences.
A total of 51 Bosnians have died so far on foreign battlefields and 49 have returned from them. Half of those have already been processed by courts.
Bosnia’s law foresees a jail term of up to 10 years for those who recruit, finance or personally participate in foreign wars. Salihovic told reporters that so far some 70 people have been processed as suspects in some form of terrorist activity.