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More Arrests in Serbia Assassination

April 2, 2003

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) _ Police said Wednesday they have arrested six more suspects on charges they were involved in the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.

The arrests came as Serbian officials renewed their promise to purge the country of criminal remnants of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic’s regime. Police did not specify what roles the latest detainees allegedly played in the assassination.

``No one will be spared the responsibility for what has happened in our country,″ Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Cedomir Jovanovic was quoted as saying by the state-run Tanjug news agency.

Authorities have accused an underworld group known as the Zemun Clan of masterminding out the March 12 sniper attack on Djindjic. But the government also has said that Djindjic’s death was politically motivated and aimed at destabilizing the reformist leadership.

Djindjic made many enemies by orchestrating Milosevic’s extradition to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, and by announcing a crackdown on organized crime.

Police have rounded up thousands of underworld bosses, war profiteers, former paramilitaries and state security chiefs following Djindjic’s slaying. Of those, about 2,000 remain in custody.

The investigation also has revealed information about the 2000 abduction and slaying of Communist-era Serbian President Ivan Stambolic. Police say Stambolic was killed by five members of a paramilitary police unit arrested as part of the investigation of Djindjic’s slaying.

Government officials have accused Milosevic and his wife, Mirjana Markovic, of ordering Stambolic’s killing. Police have said they want to question the couple but no formal charges have been filed. Markovic, who is in Russia, does not intend to return to Serbia for questioning, her daughter has said.

The six people arrested on Tuesday include Djordje and Dusan Krsmanovic, two brothers who are among the top leaders of the Zemun Clan, and four of their associates.

The key Zemun Clan boss, Milorad Lukovic, who was the commander of Milosevic’s notorious paramilitary special unit, remains at large. Police have arrested several other clan leaders and last week shot to death two leaders who resisted arrest.

In a separate move, police on Tuesday detained for questioning Nebojsa Pavkovic, the former army chief-of-staff, and former customs chief Mihalj Kertes, said police sources who requested anonymity. Both Pavkovic and Kertes were close allies of Milosevic, and it was not immediately clear what the two were being questioned about.

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