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Fikret Abdić Babo

Fikret Abdić Babo

Fikret Abdić ’Babo’ was the leader of the self-proclaimed micro-state Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia (Republic of Western Bosnia), during the Yugoslavian civil war. The Autonomous Province, later the Republic, was proclaimed by local Bosniaks, who were opposed to the central government in Sarajevo.



Before the Yugoslav civil war, Fikret Abdić was a prominent Bosniak politician, businessman, and director of Agrokomerc, the largest company in FR Bosnia and Herzegovina. Agrokomerc was an economic giant located in Velika Kladuša, a small municipality in North-Western Bosnia. Fikret Abdić was involved in a huge affair with fake promissory notes in the late 1980s, but the charges against him were eventually dismissed. Public opinion perceived Abdić as an innocent victim of political conspiracy, and he gained huge popularity. He won the popular vote at the first multi-party elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 18th of November 1990, winning over a million votes, but, under unexplained circumstances, he was forced to concede his place to Alija Izetbegović, future Bosnian wartime leader.



The conflict between Abdić and Izetbegović culminated in 1993 when Abdić decided to create his own country.  He proclaimed the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia on the 27th of September 1993 and declared himself the president. With the capital city Velika Kladuša, the province was located between the Serb-controlled Republic of Serbian Krajina and Republika Srpska and bordered with municipality Bihać, the territory under the control of the Bosnian government. Autonomous Province Western Bosnia had an independent army and an economy centered around Agrokomerc. The main goal of Abdić's politics was to avoid confrontation against Serbs and Croatians and to include the towns Bihać and Cazin into his newly formed state. Fikret Abdić signed trade deals with both the Serbs and Croatians and cooperated with both sides until the end of the war.



Autonomous Province Western Bosnia was involved in a military conflict against the Fifth Corpus of ARBIH, under the control of the Sarajevo government. The first clashes begun in October 1993 and lasted until the ARBIH operation Tiger, when Abdić s territory was conquered, and he was forced into exile to Serb controlled area. The territory was reclaimed in November 1994, during the operation Spider (Serbian: Pauk), a joint offensive of Abdić s forces, and the Krajina Serb Army. During that time, Abdić s forces took part in the Serbian siege of Bihać. The Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia was declared a Republic on 26 July 1995 and ceased to exist just a couple of days later, on the 7th of August 1995, after the Croatian operation Storm. 



After the Yugoslav civil war, Fikret Abdić Babo was sentenced to 20 years in prison for war crimes. After his release from prison in 2012, he once again got involved in politics. He won the local elections in his native Velika Kladuša in 2016 and once again in 2020.