Bosnia and Herzegovina Security Minister Dragan Mektic on Friday once again refuted as unfounded claims by Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic about an increased threat from extremist groups in Bosnia, saying that there was no evidence to back her claims.
"I don't know where she gets her information," Mektic told the press in Sarajevo when asked to comment on Grabar-Kitarovic's statement, made in Neum on Thursday, that "Bosnia and Herzegovina is exposed to new threats, especially of international terrorism and the imminent migrant crisis."
The number of extremist communities is on the increase, she said in her speech in Neum. "Given the rise in separatist aspirations, they strongly influence the equality of Croatians in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We must not turn a blind eye to these facts,” she added.
This prompted Mektic to say on Friday that he was surprised by the fact that Bosnia was even being mentioned in the context of the refugee crisis, stressing that the migrant wave had bypassed Bosnia and that there were no indications that this could change.
"We have no problem in that regard. Maybe she placed us on the Balkan route by mistake," Mektic said.
Mektic criticised the Croatian president last year as well, accusing her of spreading disinformation about the security situation in that country.
After Grabar-Kitarovic claimed that "thousands" of fighters returning to Bosnia and Herzegovina from the wars in Syria and Iraq were a danger, Mektic called a press conference in Sarajevo and stressed that he had to react to the "untruths" and "slander".
Mektic said that claims that thousands of Islamic State fighters were expected to Bosnia and Herzegovina were "ridiculous."
"The precise number is that 226 adult Bosnian citizens spent time in the Iraqi-Syrian war zone, and now there are 115 there. Exactly 65 were killed and 46 returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina and all of them have been charged or are under investigation," Mektic said, adding that 20 people have already been sentenced to jail in this regard.