French `hitmen plotting to assassinate Milosevic'
Friday 26 November 1999
The group, nicknamed "Pauk" (Spider), was allegedly organised and backed by the French secret service. Goran Matic, the Yugoslav Information Secretary, told a news conference that the arrests were made "in the last seven to 10 days" by the Yugoslav secret service and police.
According to Mr Matic, the five-member group had envisaged four scenarios for an assassination attempt against Milosevic. These included a sniper attack, placing an explosive device "in a shaft", planting an explosive device in a parked vehicle along the route that the Yugoslav president would take, and an attack by a group of 10 men, who would break into the residence of Milosevic and try to kill him.
Mr Matic identified the alleged leader of the group as Jugoslav Petrusic, who he said had dual Yugoslav and French citizenship. "Jugoslav Petrusic has been a member of the French intelligence service for some 10 years. He spent some time in Bosnia and Herzegovina and lately he was present in Yugoslavia," Mr Matic said.Mr Matic said Mr Petrusic claimed during interrogations that he had killed around 50 people on behalf of French intelligence. He also accused Mr Petrusic of involvement in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of Muslim men during the Bosnian war.
Mr Matic said the group planned an assassination attempt against Milosevic "after the unsuccessful one during the war", a reference to NATO's April attack on the empty residence of the Yugoslav president during the bombing campaign in Kosovo since when Serbians have not known where Milosevic resides.
Matic accused the French secret service of "barbarism" in connection with the latest threat to the Yugoslav president's life, saying: "France was caught red-handed." The French foreign ministry had no immediate comment.
Mr Matic said that all five members of the group were recruited by the French in 1996, following the signing of the Dayton Peace accords on Bosnia- Herzegovina. They are Serbs from Bosnia, some of them officers of the defunct JNA, the army of former Yugoslavia. Their actions aimed to destabilise the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, he added.
Observers last night were not ruling out a propaganda move by the authorities. The hastily-convened press conference bears a close resemblance to another one last January. Three deputy prime ministers of Serbia - including ultranationalist Vojislav Seselj - presented journalists with what they called "a top secret CIA document" on ways to oust Mr. Milosevic.
The document turned out to be a proposal from the US Institute of Peace, a Washington think-tank, during official Congressional testimony in December 1998. It was posted on the institute's web-site.
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
International Women’s Day: 'When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch' - feminist quotes from female icons to inspire you
International Women's Day 2014: Cherie Blair - ‘Today is a chance to see how far we still have to go’
Dead woman's body found sitting in a car after six years after direct debits ran $54,000 bank account dry
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 3 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 4 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
- 5 Dead woman's body found sitting in a car after six years after direct debits ran $54,000 bank account dry
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...