Bosnian Muslim frontier suspected of killing Serbian colleague

Bosnian Muslim border officer suspected of killing Serb colleague¤

A Bosnian Muslim border service officer was arrested on suspicion of killing his Serb colleague at a border crossing in southeastern Bosnia.

It was not immediately clear if the arrested man was charged with the killing. But a border service statement said that shortly after the two officers arrived for duty Wednesday at the Metaljka border crossing between Bosnia and Serbia-Montenegro, he allegedly fired nine rounds from his service revolver, killing his colleague. It offered no further details, but said authorities were investigating the incident.

Bosnia is divided into two ethnic-based ministates - one for Orthodox Bosnian Serbs and the other shared by the country's Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats, and it has a unified State Border Service.

Each ministate has its own police, and officials have been working for months on a police reform that is supposed to unify the two police forces in a similar way.

At the exclusively Serb town Cajnice, birthplace of the dead Serb officer not far from the border crossing where he worked, more than 100 Bosnian Serb residents blocked the local road in protest at the killing.

The protesters demanded a halt to negotiations among Bosnian Serb, Muslim and Croat leaders about the unification of Bosnia's police force. They demanded the police in Bosnia remain ethnically separated, arguing that Wednesday's killing showed that Muslims, Serbs and Croats cannot work together.

The protesters held banners saying: "We will not let them kill us," and "Is this what the joint police will look like?"

The head of the European Union Police Mission in Bosnia, Kevin Carty, expressed his condolences over the killing.

"This is a serious incident and until the investigation is concluded and full facts established it is unwise to speculate as to the background of this tragic event," he said. His mission will closely monitor the investigation in this case, he added.

The EU Police Mission to Bosnia oversees police reform in Bosnia in order to meet the European Union policing standards before the possible admission of Bosnia into the EU, The AP reported.

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