SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — A Bosnian man fatally shot his ex-wife while livestreaming the murder on Instagram and then killed two others as he fled before taking his own life Friday, according to police and the media. .
The attack took place in the northeastern Bosnian town of Gradacac, where the attacker left three people injured before “committing suicide after being located and before being detained,” Tuzla city police said in a statement. .
Bosnia is still reeling from a bloody war in the 1990s and violence against women is rampant, but the livestreamed murder of the ex-wife shocked people in the Balkan country.
Prosecutors said that after killing her, the man took to the streets of Gradacac with a gun and shot and killed a man and his son. He also injured a policeman, another man and a woman at various points in the town.
“I have no words to describe what happened in Gradacac today,” said Nermin Niksic, the prime minister of the Federation of Bosnia. “The killer took his own life in the end, but no one can take the lives of the victims back.”
Authorities did not immediately offer possible motives for the shooting. Bosnian authorities and media said the ex-wife had reported threats and violence by her partner in the past and that the shooter, identified by local media as Gradacac resident Nermin Sulejmanovic, had a criminal record.
The man posted a video on Instagram on Friday morning, telling viewers that they would see a live murder. The video then shows him picking up a gun and shooting a bullet into a woman’s forehead as a child’s cry is heard from somewhere nearby. The video was later removed from Instagram.
As police chased the man, he livestreamed two more videos on Instagram, claiming to have shot at least two other people as he fled. Authorities later said that some 12,000 people watched the killing live, and the video received 126 likes.
“It is a great shame for our society,” Bosnian Human Rights Minister Sevid Hurtic said. Hurtic noted that 19 women murdered victims in 2020 and 2021; Bosnia has a population of 3.2 million.
Bosnian media said Sulejmanovic, 35, was a bodybuilder and fitness trainer with previous arrests on charges of drug smuggling and assaulting a police officer.
Police said people who wrote supportive messages while clicking on the man’s Instagram posts on Friday would be questioned and possibly face legal consequences.
The UN Resident Coordinator in Bosnia, Ingrid Macdonald, was among those who expressed shock at the day’s events.
“The United Nations is horrified by the fact that the murder of a female victim was broadcast live on social media, which is one of the latest in a string of femicides and serious cases of gender-based violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina” MacDonald said. .
He insisted that the violence on Friday could have been prevented and called for “immediate collective action” to stop violence against women.
“We call on the authorities to resolutely commit to eradicating this heinous crime and urge the international community, governments, civil society and individuals to join forces to prioritize eradicating femicide,” Macdonald said.
Bosnia remains tense and ethnically divided long after the 1992-1995 war that killed more than 100,000 people and displaced millions.