Croatia's County Head Accuses Bosnian Serb Capital of Glorifying War Criminal

By 9 January 2022

ZAGREB, 9 January, 2022 - The head of Bjelovar-Bilogora County, Marko Marušić, has condemned the unveiling of a memorial plaque in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina to Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) Major Milan Tepić, who blew up an ammunition depot in Bjelovar in 1991 to prevent Croatian forces from seizing the weapons.

Marušić said in a statement on Sunday that the monument honouring Major Tepić was "a slap in the face and salt on the wound" to all victims of the Serbian military aggression on Croatia, especially those in Bjelovar (about 80 km east of Zagreb). 

Major Tepić will be remembered as a fanatic who blew up himself and a depot with 170 tonnes of explosives in the JNA barracks in Bjelovar in 1991, Marušić recalled, adding that 11 Bjelovar families were left without their sons and husbands and that Tepić would have destroyed the entire town had he not been prevented from detonating the explosive in other depots.

"This, unfortunately, is not the first time that a person who has nothing to do with heroism is called a hero. He was a coward and a war criminal. After Belgrade, which named a street after Milan Tepić, Banja Luka has now also joined in glorifying this war criminal, obviously not accidentally,"  Marušić said.

He said it is scandalous that the mayor of Banja Luka, who was not even born at the time of this war crime, has joined in cherishing this cult of personality. "This only shows that the idea of a greater Serbia continues to live," Marušić said.