The government of Bosnia’s Serb-majority region will soon decide to deploy its police officers at the state borders and the same should be done at the boundary line between the two semi-autonomous entities in the country, Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik said on Wednesday.
Dodik, who is the Serb member of the tripartite Presidency and the leader of the ruling party in the semi-autonomous Republika Srpska (RS) entity, stressed that this should be in no way interpreted as a political decision.
Bosnia has on Wednesday declared a state of disaster across the country and all levels of government have introduced strict measures to prevent an outbreak but Dodik argued that this is not enough.
He mentioned a recent case of a Border Police officer who was bribed into allowing three people to enter Bosnia although they came from countries the government has forbidden entry from, breaching the measures authorities have adopted during the coronavirus crisis.
“Police officers are taking money to allow people entry and that is so dangerous that Republika Srpska must regulate its self-defence issues over it,” Dodik told the RS public broadcaster.
Republika Srpska “has a right to protect itself and must not leave out any measures to prevent the spreading of the virus,” he said.
Dodik said that there is still no reason for panic but that the responsible thing to do would be to “take all measures to prevent people who may carry the virus from entering and to place them in quarantine.”
He said he has been pushing for such measures for a while already in the Presidency but that authorities at the state level and those of the other semi-autonomous entity, the Federation (FBiH), are not fully in favour of it.
“All measures to prevent the coronavirus from spreading have been implemented in Republika Srpska but I can not say the same for Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federation,” he said.