SUHODOL, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Police in Bosnia said Monday they have launched a manhunt for a suspect in the slayings of two people that have triggered panic in the country.
They also called for public vigilance and appealed to residents to report any sightings of the suspect, saying they think 42-year-old Edin Gacic is armed and dangerous.
Gacic is suspected of killing a grocery store owner near Konjic, southwest of Sarajevo, a week ago and shooting to death a policeman on Saturday in Suhodol, a village south of the capital city. Investigators haven't established a motive.
Gacic served two prison sentences for murder but was released in 2017 after serving two-thirds of the 20-year term. His victims were his mother and a man who served with a battalion of Muslim volunteers during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia.
Bosnian media have reported that Gacic also served in the unit, which fought alongside Bosnian army soldiers under the country's wartime Muslim-led government.
"We are checking any information we get. All police agencies have been engaged," said Aljosa Campara, the interior minister in the government of the Muslim-Croat half of Bosnia. "We are doing all we can to protect the citizens."
Police officials later said a total of 1,200 officers have been deployed for the manhunt and they would ask the army to help, if necessary. Heavy snow made the search in a mountainous region more difficult.
Bosnians have expressed fears about a gunman on the loose.
In Suhodol, a villager who identified himself only by his first name, Mujo, said he is afraid.
"Of course I am scared," said the man, suggesting villagers might flee the area. "I won't just sit here and wait for him to kill me."