Serbia arrests suspected leader in Kosovo police killing

The United States on Friday warned of "a large Serbian military deployment along the border with Kosovo" and called on "Serbia to withdraw those forces from the border".
Serbian Defense Minister Milos Vucevic speaks during a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023.
Serbian Defense Minister Milos Vucevic speaks during a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023.

BELGRADE: Serbia arrested the suspected leader of a group of gunmen who killed a Kosovo police officer on September 24, the Serbian interior ministry said Tuesday.

Milan Radoicic was remanded in custody for 48 hours and handed to the Belgrade public prosecutor's office, the ministry said in a statement, adding that police searched his flat and other properties. It did not say where he was arrested.

Radoicic is a businessman and former Kosovo Serb politician.

Formerly vice-president of the Serbian List (Srpska Lista), the main political grouping of Kosovo Serbs, he resigned from his post last week.

He was questioned by Serbian police for the first time on Saturday.

A few days earlier, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic had stated that Radoicic was in "central Serbia" and available for questioning by the Serb authorities.

Around 30 gunmen were involved in the hours-long shootout in the village of Banjska on September 24, after they ambushed a police patrol and later barricaded themselves in an Orthodox monastery near the northern border with Serbia.

The killing of the officer brought years of distrust and bitterness to the surface -- as a war of words between Belgrade and Pristina officials, competing days of mourning, and calls for sanctions marred already fractious relations.

The United States on Friday warned of "a large Serbian military deployment along the border with Kosovo" and called on "Serbia to withdraw those forces from the border".

Serbia said Monday that its troop numbers were back to normal near the border with Kosovo, which accuses it of trying to annex the Serb-majority north.

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