Annan's envoy in Bosnia and Herzegovina condemns mob violence

Annan's envoy in Bosnia and Herzegovina condemns mob violence

The top United Nations official in Bosnia and Herzegovina today condemned recent mob violence in the country, which followed efforts to clean up corruption at one of the country's banks.

Jacques Paul Klein, the Secretary-General's Special Representative, deplored "in the strongest terms possible" the violence, which he said was orchestrated to undermine a joint operation in branches of the Herzgovacka Banka, according to a statement issued by UNMIBH, the UN Mission in the country. He called upon local authorities to restore law and order and bring to justice those responsible for today's egregious acts of violence.

The statement stressed that the joint action was meant to protect the interests of those members of the general public who had accounts with the bank, and to investigate allegations of corruption and financial support for illegal parallel institutions.

Personnel from the NATO Stabilisation Force (SFOR) and members of the UN International Police Task Force were on hand as the provisional administration moved to seize records at the bank's branches, UN officials said.

Outside the bank's headquarters and other branch offices, Bosnian Croats demonstrated against the seizures, throwing rocks at international staff and damaging vehicles belonging to SFOR. No UNMIBH personnel were reported injured during the violence.

"Political extremists and their criminal counterparts, in a last ditch effort to preserve their illegal structures and ill-gotten gains, are believed to be behind the assaults carried out against international personnel serving the cause of peace in Bosnia," the UNMIBH statement said.