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Police arrest 56 people in connection to Djindjic’s assassination

The state of emergency, introduced in Serbia only a few hours following the assassination of Serbian PM Zoran Djindjic, has facilitated the first important achievements in the crackdown on organised crime in Serbia. Police have arrested 56 of people, eight of who are members of the criminal gang suspected of masterminding and executing the assassination of the Serbian prime minister, the Serbian government announced.

The government also said that three out of the eight arrested members of the clan requested protected witness status, and at the moment, they were giving statements to the special prosecutor. Deputy PM Zarko Korac, however, said the chief suspects in the assassination, Milorad Lukovic "Legija" and Dusan Spasojevic "Siptar", were still on the run.

The government also said that work of the investigators so far had produced sufficient information and facts for suspicions that the group was directly involved in organising and carrying out the assassination attempt on Djindjic on Feb 21.

The Serbian government accused a group of 200 people for masterminding and executing the assassination of Djindjic, and also a series of assassinations, abductions, and various other crimes in the past few years. The government branded the group as the Zemun clan, describing it as "one of the most organised criminal groups in the territory of the former Yugoslavia." At the same time, Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic said that the police would arrest all suspects in the assassination of Djindjic and "liquidate all those who resist arrest." Mihajlovic added that he would do his best to make sure that the assassins of Djindjic are captured and brought to justice.

In a related story, Djindjic will be buried on the Avenue of the Great at the New Cemetery in Belgrade, at 2:00 p.m. local time tomorrow, the Serbian government announced. At noon on the same day, the patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church Pavle will perform a funeral liturgy in the St Sava Cathedral.

(Internet Securities 14.iii.03)

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