“We are all appalled considering (the incident) and the number of people killed at the time. Therefore we consider any memorial plaque inappropriate and condemn it,” Plenković said during a visit to Split.
When Croatian forces liberated the JNA barracks in Bjelovar on 29 September 1991, most JNA soldiers there surrendered, while Tepić refused. Instead, he destroyed the ammunition depot, killing himself, 11 Croatian defenders, and dozens of JNA conscripts.
Tepic, who was in charge of the ammunition depot in the village of Bedenik, had planned to blow up all four warehouses at that location but was prevented from doing so by four Croatian soldiers, whose intervention prevented an even bigger disaster.
Banja Luka Mayor Draško Stanivuković on Sunday unveiled a plaque commemorating Tepić, describing him as “the last Yugoslav national hero.” The plaque was unveiled on the occasion of the day of the Serb entity of Republika Srpska, January 9, a holiday that was declared unconstitutional by the BiH Constitutional Court in 2016.
On Sunday, a parade was held in Banja Luka for that day, which is a public holiday in the Serb entity, with the Serb member of the BiH Presidency, Milorad Dodik, saying that “Republika Srpska is our state, regardless of those who deny it to us.”
In a comment on the event as well as the Serb entity’s aspirations for secession, Plenković reiterated Croatia’s strong support to the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, “which we respect and are helping on its European journey and which we want to be a functioning country.”
“We are against any messages that have secessionist and separatist connotations,” Plenković stressed.
President of the Serb National Council (SNV), and a Croatian Member of Parliament Milorad Pupovac, also attended the events in Banja Luka on Sunday.
“As for Mr. Pupovac’s attendance, he was there only for the official ceremony in his capacity as president of the SNV,” Plenković said, adding that “there has been significant support there to the post-earthquake reconstruction of Banovina”, a reference to post-earthquake aid to Croatia’s Sisak-Moslavina County provided by the Serb entity authorities.
“He neither made any speeches nor did he have any special role there,” Plenković said in conclusion, in reference to Pupovac.
For more, check out our dedicated politics section.