High-profile Croatian journalist Ivo Pukanic, publisher of the muckraking opposition weekly Nacional, was killed along with his marketing chief Niko Franjic in a bomb blast in central Zagreb Oct. 23. The bomb reportedly exploded under his car and was detonated by remote control. Pukanic was noted for his aggressive investigations of official corruption and human rights abuses.
Croatia’s Prime Minister Ivo Sanader called the murders “terrorism” as opposed to a “mafia killing,” and vowed “We will not allow Croatia to become Beirut.” President Stjepan Mesic added: “Terrorism has arrived to the streets of Croatia’s capital. It is a completely new challenge to everyone. The state institutions must react immediately and fiercely. Society must be united, there is no more time for waiting—its either us or them.”
Pukanic was the target of an assassination attempt in April, when an unknown gunman fired on him as he was walking to his home just before midnight. The bullet missed. A police escort for Pukanic that was ordered after the attempt was recently cancelled, despite no-one being arrested in the case. (Balkan Insight, Javno, Oct. 23; Balkan Insight, April 10)