Moldova beefs up security measures to stem home-grown islamists

Moldovan Minister of Interior's special brigade "Lightning" during a training session
Moldovan Minister of Interior's special brigade "Lightning" during a training session

Moldovan authorities will take supplementary security measures to rein in home-grown islamists which pose an internal threat, security, defense and law enforcement officials summoned today by President Nicolae Timofti said.

Moldova’s Defense Minister Anatol Salaru admitted Moldovan citizens are fighting on the Syrian front along the Islamic State terrorist organization. He played down risks from these fighters already in the Middle East, but pointed to those radicalized still in Moldova.

“Risks come from inside, from those who are already in the Republic of Moldova, who one way or another sympathize with the Islamic State and terrorists. We have Moldovans fighting in Syria as well and also many foreigners here on our soil. But I don’t think there is a major attack risk”, Salaru was quoted as saying, calling on any Moldovan citizen to do his civic duty.

Still, in order to prevent any potential attack, Moldovan authorities said they would beef up security measures, in a meeting during which officials also discussed the security situation in the breakaway Transnistria. In this context, Environment Minister Valeriu Munteanu said he had signed an order implementing extra security measures at the cyanide storehouses. He said these deposits which are mostly found withing wine production centers could raise terrorist organizations’ interest.

There are about 44 such wine production unit across the Republic of Moldova where about 4,000 tons of cyanide is stored, mostly inherited from the Soviet period. Munteanu added authorities consider destroying the dumps, either by transporting the cyanide abroad or destroying it in the country under supervision of foreign experts.

Last week, Moldovan border police apprehended two men trying to cross river Prut into Romania. They were carrying Islamic books and objects and one of them, previously convicted for murder, was found to have converted to Islam in prison. Some papers found on them also revealed the two sought to reach France.

In his turn, Moldovan Presidency’s spokesman Vlad Turcanu said “risks can originate in different countries, namely those that persons entering Moldova under a pretext or another come from. over the past weeks there’ve been actions meant to prevents these risks”, he said, as quoted by Publika.md