Milosevic ally is shot dead

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The Independent Online

A top official of President Slobodan Milosevic's ruling Socialist Party was shot dead at an agricultural fair yesterday. The victim, Bosko Perosevic, was head of regional government for the northern Vojvodina province, and a firm supporter of Milosevic's autocratic policies.

He was touring the fair in the northern city of Novi Sad when a security guard at the fair compound approached him and fired at close range. died in hospital hours later.

The attacker, identified as Milivoj Gutovic, a 50-year-old who had worked at the exhibition for years, was caught after a short chase.

Belgrade-based Studio B Television reported that seconds before the attack Perosevic's mobile telephone rang and he moved away from his delegation to take the call.

At that moment, Gutovic approached him, pressed the gun to Perosevic's head and fired. Studio B said the attacker had known Perosevic for some years.

It was the latest in a series of high-profile shootings in which government officials, top businessmen and underworld figures have been assassinated. The general manager of the Yugoslav national carrier, JAT, was killed last month, the country's defence minister was shot dead in February and a known underworld figure, Zeljko Raznatovic-Arkan, was assassinated in January.

Earlier in the day, members of the opposition Democratic Party gathered at the exhibition gate to hand out party leaflets. Seven were arrested by the police, but were later freed after a group of 50 protesters gathered at the main jail in Novi Sad to demand their release.