Latest info on the yesterday’s attack on Croatian football boss Zdravko Mamić.
Zdravko Mamić, officially an adviser at the Dinamo Zagreb FC and unofficially the main boss of Croatian football, was shot on Tuesday by a single bullet in his thigh. The attack happened at Vidović near Tomislavgrad in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he was paying respects at the local graveyard to his father, who is buried there.
He was hit while was leaving his car. He was shot from the bush about ten to twenty meters from the place where he was at the time. “The attack happened after he got out of the vehicle. Mamić felt a strong pain in his leg as if something had burnt him,” said spokesperson of the local police Ivica Vrdoljak.
“There were two shooters. I did not see them personally, but Zdravko’s driver saw them,” said Miro Mamić, Zdravko Mamić’s relative at the scene of the attack. “They made a barricade there in the bush, and they were waiting probably for a couple of days since they did not know when he would precisely come. Zdravko got out of the car, the driver locked the doors and then two hits were fired. They also hit another vehicle,” said a witness.
Another issue is the number of attackers. Several witnesses saw two people running away immediately after the attack. According to the county Interior Minister Darinko Mihaljević, several police officers are looking for attackers, using police dogs and special teams from Bihać. The police took testimony from Mamić’s wife and driver, who were both with him at the time of the incident.
After the attack, Mamić was taken to the nearby health centre in Tomislavgrad. Shortly after, Mamić was photographed with fans in good spirits, and he soon left the health centre. The media reported that Mamić was supposed to be transported to a hospital in Split, but he allegedly refused and instead left for the Sveti Duh hospital in Zagreb, where he spent the night.
During the day, Mamić gave a short statement that he had avoided death and that everything was fine. He did not want to talk about possible perpetrators and circumstances. “Thank God that I was hit, and not somebody else,” Mamić allegedly said after the attack, according to his relative Miro Mamić.
According to some media reports, the police found at the site of the attack a 7.65 mm calibre shell. It is not a kind of ammunition usually used in such attacks from a distance. This theory claims that Mamić was hit from a short-range firearm. The most well-known pistols of such calibre in this area are Zastava, Berretta and Walther PPK. Such small guns are mostly intended for self-defence and deterring attackers, and they are cheap. They should be used just for short range fire, up to a dozen meters, and their power at greater distances is low, especially when they are in the hands of an inexperienced shooter. The shooter on Mamić fired from the distance of some 20 metres.
Mamić’s brother Zoran Mamić accused what he called football hooligans for the attack. “I am pretty sure that the attackers are hooligans. Those football fans who are not really fans, but just hooligans. I do not see any other possibility, but I hope that the police will find them so that we can see who they are and what they are,” said Zoran Mamić.
Unlike Zdravko Mamić, Dinamo FC was much faster in issuing a statement, publishing it immediately after the incident. It characterised the attack as an attempted murder. “Dinamo is horrified by the attack and attempted assassination of Zdravko Mamić. Mr Mamić was hit from a firearm and has suffered severe bodily injuries. Mamić was on a private visit to Tomislavgrad, where each year he goes to pay respects due to the anniversary of the death of his father. Obviously, this incident was planned and is just the continuation of the attack on Mamić in 2014. Unfortunately, we are not surprised with these developments given the lynching that has been going on for months and years in our society. Zdravko Mamić’s human rights have been violated for years, not only by frequent threats against his life and physical attacks on him but also by media allegations which encourage hate,” said Dinamo FC in its statement.
Some believe that the attack was a message to Mamić since the attackers shot him in the thigh. That is considered to be a kind of warning, which usually comes from the criminal world. It has been seen many times in Croatia before, and targets of such attacks are often various controversial entrepreneurs. Perpetrators of these attacks are rarely ever caught. It remains to be seen whether the Bosnian police, which is leading the investigation since the attack occurred on its territory, will be more successful.
Security expert Željko Cvrtila also believes that the assault was an intimidation attempt. “We do not yet have enough indicators that could give us a definite conclusion, but I would think that it was an attempt to intimidate. Since in such favourable circumstances for the attackers the worst thing did not happen, that is, Mamić was not killed, that means that it is possible that this was just intimidation,” said Cvrtila.
As a motive, Cvrtila stated that it was most probably money. “It is hard to expect that someone would attack him like this just because they are not his supporters as the leader of Dinamo. We know about physical attacks on him recently, but to use firearms – I doubt it. I think motives here are much deeper and are often linked to business relationships,” he said.