Dutchmen accused of plot to kill Milosevic death charge

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The Independent Online

Four Dutchmen have been arrested in Yugoslavia on suspicion of conspiring to assassinate the Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. The Information Minister Goran Matic claimed they had been trained by the SAS.

Four Dutchmen have been arrested in Yugoslavia on suspicion of conspiring to assassinate the Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. The Information Minister Goran Matic claimed they had been trained by the SAS.

"They were no adventurers or weekend warriors, but people deeply involved in the military and security structures of Nato," he said.

Mr Matic said the men were arrested in July by Yugoslav security officials in Mehov Krs, close to the Montenegro-Serbian border. He said they had tried to enter Kosovo from Montenegro "to join the Dutch battalion there, and then enter Yugoslavia to kill President Slobodan Milosevic or carry out other terrorist acts".

The minister presented video footage showing the Dutchmen in uniform being interrogated and one confessing their mission was to kill Mr Milosevic or the indicted war criminal and former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic "if we came across them".

The unidentified captive said on the tape: "We would put them in a ski box (on top of a car) and transport them to the embassy or out of the country."

Mr Matic, a close ally of Mr Milosevic, accused America of "recruiting terrorist groups".

Many observers see the timing as a pre-election ploy to blame the country's poor economic performance and isolation on foreign conspiracy. Mr Milosevic's regime faces presidential, federal and local elections on 24 September.

Serbian opinion polls show the moderate nationalist leader Vojislav Kostunica, the most likely opposition presidential candidate, would get 42 per cent of votes. Mr Milosevic would win 28 per cent. The opposition chooses its candidate this week. The survey also shows 50 per cent of Serbs think the only chance of recovery for Yugoslavia is to co-operate with western Europe.

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