Int Min: Criminal group planned to assassinate Vucic; He says no surrender

NEWS 21.01.2022 20:00
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Source: Tanjug screenshot

Aleksandar Vulin, Serbia's Interior Minister, said on Friday that a criminal group led by a Montenegrin national planned to assassinate President Aleksandar Vucic, adding information came from partner services and Europol.

The claim comes ahead of new environmental protests called in the country for Thursday and presidential, early general, Belgrade and some local elections due on April 3.

„Members of the Interior Ministry (MUP) and the (the state civilian security agency) BIA, together with the representatives of Europol and partner services which gave us information, work on identifying of all members of this criminal organisation, which aims to assassinate President Aleksandar Vucic,“ Vulin said.

Hours after Vulin’s statement Vucic published a message on his Instagram profile, saying: “Surrender is not an option. We will win over them all. Together.”

In the meantime, his ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) Belgrade branch asked the authorities to protect Vucic. Bosnian Serb member to BiH tripartite Presidency Milorad Dodik, described the alleged threat as "terrifying information about the assassination of Vucic. The mafia is bothered by a strong Serbia."

The head of this organisation, according to Vulin, is Radoje Zvicer, a Montenegrin citizen for whom Serbia has issued a warrant. Zvicer is one of the leaders of the so-called 'Kavacki Clan, ' one of the two rival criminal organisations from Montenegro that spread their activities to Serbia.

Vulin said that the investigation would determine whether Zvicer "gathered this criminal organisation to kill the President on his own or as ordered by his political leader." Vulin did not say who he considered Zvicer's political leader.

"Until then, members of MUP and (state civil security agency) BIA will inform the Prosecutor's Office for Organised Crime about any news they come across, and in cooperation with military intelligence structures will preserve peace, stability and constitutional order, as well as the safety and life of President Vucic, "Vulin said.

Pro-regime media in Serbia often publish such news, mainly when the authorities face problems in certain areas.

As the nova.rs website reported, "only during 2021, those who threatened Vucic's life included film directors, foreigners, tycoons, former allies and current ministers.

It all started back in 2016 when Vucic was Prime Minister. At the time, a car with an arsenal of weapons was reportedly found near Vucic's family house in a Belgrade suburb. The pro-regime media said the conspirators wanted to "blow it up".

While the then Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic claimed that the police worked day and night to discover motives and conspirators, Vucic said he did not know where the threat came from but that potential assassins could not miss.

The nova.rs website said that the case did not have a court epilogue.

Two years later, the website recalled, potential assassins, this time from the independent NIN weekly news desk, targeted Vucic again with a cover photo showing him at arms fair.

Then, his life was reportedly jeopardised during the unveiling of the Stefan Nemanja monument in Belgrade last January. That was followed by a story of a plan to cause Vucic a heart attack on a plane.

In 2020, possible assassins included the former head of Serbia's soccer association, current defence minister, MUP former state secretary, a criminal clan, the High Court President, Wahhabis, Albanians, Americans, tycoons, according to a nova.rs report last December.

Dragan Popadic, a social psychologist, described all those claims as a usual way of communication in autocratic regimes or dictatorships.

"The purpose of those claims is to divert attention from important problems. It increases the existing repression and justifies its strengthening. If the President's life is endangered to that extent, then the special control measures against the public in fighting those with a different opinion are allowed," Popadic told nova.rs.

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