Serbia: Cache of weapons found near premier's family home

AP News
Posted: Oct 29, 2016 9:34 PM
Serbia: Cache of weapons found near premier's family home

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic was moved to a safe location after a large cache of weapons was found Saturday near his family house outside Belgrade, the interior minister said.

Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said that a trunk found in a forest by the house held an anti-tank rocket, hand grenades and sniper rifle ammunition.

Stefanovic said the location is "ideal" for an assassination attempt and that he was afraid for Vucic's safety. He said it was not the first time the prime minister was a potential target, but did not elaborate.

"It is highly unusual" for such weapons to be discovered near a place where cars have to slow down before entering or leaving Vucic's house, where his parents are believed to be living, Stefanovic said.

"It is not a naive" incident, said Stefanovic. "Liquidations are conducted in such a way. Weapons are hidden at a certain place, culprits use them and then disappear. Sadly, that's the modus operandi."

Serbia's first democratically elected Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic was killed by a sniper shot in March 2003 in front of the government headquarters in central Belgrade. More than a dozen nationalist paramilitary members and criminals have been convicted and sentenced in connection with the assassination.

Vucic, a former ultranationalist turned pro-European Union reformer, was Djindjic's strong political opponent at the time.

Serbia's Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said in a statement that authorities have to quickly find those who planned the harm Vucic, "having in mind the current pressures against our country." He did not elaborate.

"Many in the world are against the country and its leader who conducts independent policy, does not work in the foreign interest but for the interest of Serbia," Dacic said.