General Director of Police Nikola Milina (Photo: HRT) General Director of Police Nikola Milina (Photo: HRT)

Police General Director Nikola Milina met with local police chiefs in Knin on Wednesday and was briefed on the case.

Five masked men attacked patrons of two establishments in the villages of Đeverske and Uzdol on Wednesday night, injuring five people. The communities in question have Serb majorities and guest at the cafes had been watching a Red Star Belgrade football game. Police have arrested two suspects, ages 25 and 28.

“We spoke about the incidents, which are having a significant effect on the sense of safety in these communities and are detrimental to Croatia’s image. The Šibenik-Knin Police Department responded quickly and identified the attackers in one of the incidents quickly,” Milina said, adding that a thorough investigation was underway.

Milina also said there was no reason for concern because police were working to solve the cases and would step up their presence. He added that there had been several religious gatherings in Knin recently and that no incidents had been reported during these events.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has asked police to deploy their full resources to find the perpetrators and dismissed criticism that his response had not been enough.

“When something like this happens and it is something the perpetrators will have to answer for, the institutions in whose purview this falls must respond. I, as the prime minister, must first have the facts. I have politically condemned this incident - there is no question - and I will decide how to respond in certain situations, but that response will not be dictated by the media or our partners,” he told reporters after one journalist suggested his response may not have been adequate.

Asked for comment, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović was brief.

“I condemn any form of violence and I will comment on the case when I see the detailed police report," she said.

After visiting the victims of the attack, the leader of the Independent Democratic Serb Party, Milorad Pupovac, said this had not been an isolated incident. Such attacks were directly related to the current social climate which encourages intolerance. He said he would contact international institutions over minority rights violations in Croatia.

“As long as I am physically and mentally capable, no one can will force me to keep quiet. They can only try to take away my physical and mental capacity. If some people are for the homeland ready, I am ready too," said Pupovac, speaking to the press in parliament on Friday.