Europol’s report: Right-wing extremists recruiting in Serbia

EU police agency Europol has warned of growing far-right violence and urged more international cooperation to tackle the problem, German media reported citing Europol’s “Strategic Report.”

Far-right and extremist organizations and networks are getting “increasingly popular among younger and better-educated demographics,” the German paper cited the document as saying. The agency refers to international movements such as Hammerskins, Soldiers of Odin, Combat 18 and Blood & Honour, which is banned in Germany.

Weapons, explosives, combat skills

The extremist groups are showing interest in weapons and explosives, according to Europol.

“In order to build up their physical abilities and combat skills,” the report says, “members of extremist far-right groups are attempting to win over members from the military and security services in order to learn their expertise in the area of surveillance and combat readiness.”

They are also trying to take advantage of martial arts events.

Europol says that the number of arrests linked to far-right terrorism has grown from 12 in 2016 to 44 last year. Far-right extremists usually target refugees and asylum-seekers, but also, more generally, the Muslim population, politicians and sexual minorities. Many of these attacks are not being registered as terrorism, as police forces in various EU countries file them under “extremist activities” instead.

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Right-wing organizations in Serbia

Extremist organizations such as Combat 18 and Blood and Honour are active in Serbia where they have their chapters.

The website of the Serbian branch of Blood and Honor regularly records the activities of this extremist group. The last entry on the site is related to August this year, when “Blood and Honor” announced the formation of a branch in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Images of the founders, whose faces are covered with skeleton head masks, have also been posted but their identity is not revealed.

Other right-wing organizations include:

Nacionalni Stroj – A fascist organization banned in Serbia in 2012. Its leader Goran Davidovic has been tried (unsuccessfully) for spreading hatred. He has been living in Italy in the past few years.

Combat 18 – The most violent neo-Nazi organization in Serbia is Combat 18. Number 18 represents the first and eighth letter of the alphabet, that is, the initials of Adolf Hitler.

Obraz – Another nationalist organization banned in 2012. Known for violent actions against members of the LGBT population, but also for advocating for the rehabilitation of Milan Nedic (a Serbian general and politician who served as the Chief of the General Staff of the Royal Yugoslav Army and was later known as a Nazi collaborator). Their leader, Mladen Obradovic, has been tried for spreading racial and religious hatred. He was subsequently released.

(Blic, 02.10.2019)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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