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Corruption sweep in Bosnia and Herzegovina snares public officials

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina police crack down on corruption with help from European Union
  • 30 people are arrested on Saturday
  • On Friday, a former prime minister of neighboring Croatia was arrested on corruption charges

(CNN) -- Prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina announced a large-scale crackdown on corruption on Saturday that included the arrest of 30 people, including public officials and police.

About 400 European Union and Bosnian police were involved in making Saturday's arrests. Suspects are being detained in Bihac and surrounding areas, police said.

Saturday's "show of force" involved flights over Bihac conducted by a European Union Black Hawk helicopter, European Union Force spokesman Andy Mullins said.

In a recent report, the European Commission said the former Yugoslav republic was plagued by corruption and that it was choking the nation's development.

Transparency International, a non-governmental corruption monitoring group known for its Corruption Perception Index (CPI), gave Bosnia and Herzegovina one of the highest corruption scores in Europe, ranking 91 in the 178 countries it monitors worldwide.

On Friday, Ivo Sanader, a former prime minister for neighboring Croatia, was arrested in Austria after prosecuters slapped him with an international arrest warrant on charges of corruption.

According to the U.S. State Department, Bosnia and Herzegovina was among the poorer areas of the old Yugoslav Federation and remains one of the poorer countries in Europe.