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Conspiracy Theory Grows in Belgrade

November 27, 1999

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ Germany was involved in an alleged French plot to kill Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, a Belgrade newspaper reported Saturday.

France has denied the allegation made Thursday by a senior government official, Goran Matic, who claimed police have arrested five Serbs for plotting to kill Milosevic under orders from French intelligence.

Quoting what it said was a source close to the government, the newspaper Vecernje Novosti said the continuing investigation into the plot will ``soon reveal shocking details.″

The newspaper said police had captured ``three groups, mostly Serbs, who under the patronage of French and German intelligence services, were working on four scenarios for the assassination of President Milosevic.″

Identifying the five Serbs by name, Matic described them as ruthless mercenaries who fought in the recent Balkan wars on the Serb side but were also undercover agents recruited by foreign governments.

Three of the arrested are said to be Bosnian Serbs. The Belgrade daily said its sources among the Bosnian Serb military confirmed that the three belonged to a ``10th Commando Detachment″ within the Bosnian Serb Army that was under a direct command of a separate intelligence service.

Matic alleged that the ``infiltrated″ group had devised four different schemes to kill Milosevic _ a sniper or hand grenade attack, an explosion along Milosevic’s route, or an assault on the president’s residence.

Neither Matic nor the media have said how they uncovered the alleged plot.

Also Saturday, a top opposition party, the Serbian Renewal Movement, said the government’s allegation was a form of ``political violence″ aimed at heightening tensions at the time when the opposition is demanding Milosevic’s resignation and fair elections.

The party, led by opposition veteran Vuk Draskovic, said the purpose of the allegations is to shift blame ``for his own crimes committed in the Bosnian″ and other wars and divert attention from a recent car crash in which four opposition activists died. The party blames the president’s regime for causing the crash.

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