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Does Russia have training camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

2023-11-29 17:15:39, Kosova & Bota CNA

Does Russia have training camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

" 148 Russian special forces and intelligence officers have arrived in the territory of Republika Srpska, RS, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The special forces are located in three hotels in the Laktash area, while a part of the Russian special forces is located in the Training Center of the Police Forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republika Srpska in Pale" . This is what some local media wrote.

"Confirmation from several sources" of this information was later denied by the Border Police, who confirmed that 144 Russian citizens entered Bosnia-Herzegovina, "but they met the conditions necessary to enter BiH, they did not wear uniforms and signs military, and among them there are women and men of different ages".  

It was actually about the "Don Cossacks", members of the artistic cultural society, and not, as was speculated, about Russian special forces and spies.

BiH Presidency is requesting information

The history of Russian special forces has reopened in Bosnia-Herzegovina and was initiated by the Minister of Defense, Zukan Helez. That is why the agenda of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina includes information about possible camps on the territory of RS, as well as paramilitary groups and terrorist cells.

Does Russia have training camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

"It is always protected information. It is not talked about publicly, because who knows what kind of actions are taking place", said the chairman of the BiH Presidency, Zeljko Komši?, after the first defense man Helez made claims about the existence of training camps in the territory of RS, which are controlled by the Russians.

"The presidency will discuss these issues, both about these training camps in RS, and about this story about terrorists who allegedly operate and live in Bosnia-Herzegovina and we don't see them," said Komši?, stressing that he will officially request information from the intelligence security agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Russian training camps in the RS or parallel forces of other countries operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina are assertions by Defense Minister Helez, in an appearance on N1 television.

Attack on the constitutional order

"We have data on where the training takes place in the territory of Republika Srpska", said Helez, mentioning in addition to the people from Russia, the parallel military structures that will help Bosnia-Herzegovina.

From the police of RS, they reject the claims that there are illegal training camps in its territory. Such statements, the RS Police warns, seriously damage the security situation.

"Such extreme, radical, violent policies lead to terrorism. This is a direct attack on the Constitution and the security of Bosnia-Herzegovina," says the RS Minister of Internal Affairs, Sinisha Karan.

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All this, in addition to political reactions, has also alerted the State Prosecutor's Office, which has opened a special case.

"Within the case, the minister will be invited to testify and present all the information, evidence and facts at his disposal. We remind you that all institutions, office bearers, as well as citizens have a legal obligation to report all information to the competent institutions for the committed criminal acts, as well as for the perpetrators", announces the Prosecutor's Office.

Does the OBA have knowledge of the camps?

Recently, several politicians from Republika Srpska wrote to US congressmen, among other things, about the security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They stated that BiH "is a haven for radical Islamists and is home to many Al-Qaeda and ISIL cells."

The reactions that followed from the political representatives in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to analysts, can be put in the context of "turning the ball" to the claims about the existence of training camps on the territory of the RS. This background is the statement of the Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Elmedin Konakovic.

"I saw the statement of colleague Helez. Honestly, I trust his assessment much more than the letter of the RS representative to the American Congress that there are mujahedin branches in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I invite the institutions to definitely check these accusations, everything should it is professionally controlled and has expertise", said Konakovic.

Checks have already been carried out. The Intelligence and Security Agency of Bosnia-Herzegovina (OBA) has already informed the Council of Ministers of Bosnia-Herzegovina with the situation. "A response was sent that there are no camps or paramilitary formations," the agency said.

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The first man of Rogatica, Milorad Jagodic, assures that there are no camps in this territory. "Everything is made up, it is a pure lie. From such a level, as the Minister of Defense, it is too much to present such unverified information. A lot of damage has been done to Rogatica and inter-ethnic relations", says Jagodic.

Helezi's resignation

It is not good for the Minister of Defense to go public with unconfirmed information, says military affairs analyst Gjuro Kozar. As for the camps, Kozar says that in RS there are forms of "training of gendarmerie units". But, he adds, the trainings that have taken place have raised questions as to why they were held in those places.

"Now it is up to Minister Helez to present the additional information, if any, and explain his claims. But I am very sure that the OBA has no data on who and how they were trained in Rogaticë and Magliç and beyond," says Kozar.

The Security Committee of the RS National Assembly should also be in session this week, which will also request information on the existence of these camps as well as information on general security. Until then, the Serbian representatives in the Council of Ministers will demand Helezi's resignation./ DW

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