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News 25 Oct 16

Vucic: Serbia Arrests People Involved in 'Illegal Acts' in Montenegro

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic on Monday said that Serbian authorities have arrested several people who were following the Montenegrin PM and planning illegal activities in Montenegro - but insisted they had no connection to the Serbian state.

Milivoje Pantovic
BIRN
Belgrade
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic at the press conference. Photo: Beta

Vucic said the people arrested in Serbia following an alleged coup d'etat in Montenegro have nothing to do with politicians in either country, but had connections to a third country.

“We have seized uniforms, money [125,000 euros] and other things, and have informed the Special Prosecution in Montenegro of what we know,” Vucic told a press conference on Monday night following a meeting of the Bureau for Coordination of Work of the Security Agencies.

"These are not [same group of] people arrested down there [in Montenegro]. We have informed their [Montenegrin] security services," Vucic added.

On the day of the general election in Montenegro 16 October, a former commander of the Serbian Gendarmerie, Bratislav Dikic, was arrested and accused of planning a coup in the country.

The Montenegrin Prosecutor's Office said last week that it had “reasonable suspicion” that a criminal organisation had been formed in Serbia and Montenegro with a plan to attack the police in front of the parliament once the results of Sunday’s election were announced, before taking over the assembly and declaring that the party of their choice had won the polls.

However, Dikic on Monday said that a Montenegrin policeman had "planted evidence" on him, namely a phone and keys to a warehouse containing weapons.

Vucic did not mention any arrests of those reportedly engaged in planning and organizing these “illegal operations” in Serbia.

Turning to other matters connected to the Gendarmerie, Vucic said some people were “trying to push [the idea] that the Gendarmerie” was involved in the controversial demolitions in Hercegovacka street in April in Belgrade, reportedly undertaken to make way for the Waterfront redevelopment project.

On April 24, masked men blocked Hercegovacka Street, seized mobile phones from eyewitnesses, some of whom were tied up, and demolished buildings with bulldozers.

Residents and workers in the street called the police for help, but according to a report by the Serbian Ombudsman, Sasa Jankovic, police declined to take action.

Vucic admitted in June that senior Belgrade officials were behind the nocturnal demolitions of buildings, which have since sparked several demonstrations.

NOTE: This article was amended on October 25, 2016. The previous version stated the arrested people were Serb nationals.

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