Serbia finds proof of coup attempt in Montenegro

By bne IntelliNews October 25, 2016

Serbian special police have found proof that Serbian citizens were planning a coup in Montenegro, Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on October 24. He told a press conference that the security services had found proof of planned illegal activities in Montenegro that had been prepared in Serbia.

The information provided by Vucic came after Montenegro’s special prosecution announced that a group of 20 Serbs arrested on the eve of the election was planning a coup in the country. However, Vucic claimed that the 20 people arrested by Montenegrin police on October 15 were not connected to Serbia’s investigation.

According to Vucic, Serbian special services have seized uniforms and money and have informed Montenegro’s special prosecution. He added that the individuals suspected by Serbian police were arrested and taken into custody in Belgrade.

The suspects in Belgrade include people conducting surveillance on Montenegro’s Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and reporting to others on his activities.

On the night of October 15, Montenegrin police arrested 20 Serbian paramilitaries on suspicion of planning to disrupt the elections. Among those arrested was the former Serbia police commander Bratislav Dikic, also known as “The Little Legija", who has been under investigation on suspicion of leading a mafia organisation in Serbia along with his brother Dragan. Dikic was dismissed as a Serbian gendarmerie commander in 2013 after one of his men was arrested for murder.

According to the police, the group was suspected of planning to obtain automatic weapons and attack state institutions, the police and representatives of state authorities, including top state officials. Local media reported that they were planning to arrest Djukanovic. Dikic and most of the group were interrogated and held in jail for 72 hours.

However, the Warsaw-based Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) said in an October 21 comment on Montenegro’s general election that the arrest of the 20 Serbs was connected to the electoral campaign of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) led by veteran Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.

The DPS, which has been in power since Montenegro became independent 10 years ago, faced an extremely close race in the 2016 election, after losing its long-term coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), earlier this year. While it won the largest share of the vote, a group of opposition parties say they may try to form a majority post-election. 

OSW claimed that their theory was supported by the fact that the operation, which was controlled by Djukanovic supporters among the police and special services, was not coordinated in advance with the head of the interior ministry, who is not a member of the DPS.

 

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