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Bosnia: DW journalist attacked and injured in Banja Luka

March 20, 2023

DW correspondent Ajdin Kamber was assaulted while covering a Pride event that was cancelled on short notice. Kamber was hospitalized after being hit in the head.

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DW is Germany's international broadcasterImage: picture alliance/dpa/Oliver Berg

A journalist working for German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle in the city of Banja Luka in the autonomous Serb region within Bosnia and Herzegovina was hospitalized on Saturday while reporting on an LGBT event, DW said on Monday.

DW correspondent Ajdin Kamber was covering an event being held by NGO Bosnia and Herzegovina Pride that was banned by police on short notice.

The original Pride event — which has been held in public for ten years — was moved to an alternative location after the police ban. The NGO Transparency International offered its premises for the event. However, not all participants and journalists were made aware of the change.

A group of hooded individuals approached those participants and journalists at the original location and began attacking them. Kamber was punched in the face and hit in the head with a bottle, subsequently having to seek medical treatment, DW said. 

According to Kamber, police at the scene failed to intervene and the assault only ended when further police patrol cars arrived and the attackers were permitted to leave without hindrance.

The Banja Luka police said law enforcement officers had escorted the Pride participants to the police station to take their statements and were still looking for the perpetrators.

Kamber notes 'unusual' police inaction

Kamber said that he found it "strange" that police officers did not stay at the scene after announcing that the Pride event could not take place.

"Masked men (30-40 of them) walked past the police who didn't react at all, let alone stop the attackers," Kamber said. "They did nothing and the police cars soon left."

The DW correspondent tried to help others who were being attacked. He then came across a police car with three officers and asked them why they were not helping people.

"They told me I shouldn't get involved in police work," Kamber said.

"It was unbelievable and unusual for me that the police didn't react, although they were there and had been informed that people were unsafe."