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Security

Serbian prime minister evacuated after weapons cache discovery

The location of the weapons cache had been 'ideal' for an assassination, according to the interior minister. The weapons included a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and sniper rifle ammunition.

Serbian police on Saturday evacuated Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic to a "safe location" after discovering a weapons cache near the premier's family house on the outskirts of Belgrade.

The weapons, which included a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, hand grenades and sniper-rifle ammunition, were discovered in bushes next to the location where Vucic's motorcade slows down to enter or exit his residence.

"The prime minister is now safe, as well as his family … it is worrying that weapons were in the place where his motorcade has to slow down to almost 10 kilometers (six miles) per hour," said Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic.

The interior minister said the location was "ideal" for an assassination attempt against the prime minister. Police have yet to make any arrests in connection to the weapons.

"The key to the safety (of the prime minister) will be to do intelligence work so we can find out … who has such intentions and to do everything we can to prevent that," Stefanovic added.

Hundreds of thousands of weapons remain in private hands following the Yugoslav war of the 1990s. Many of the weapons ended up in the hands of criminal gangs.

Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, Serbia's first pro-Western premier after the ouster of Slobodan Milosevic three years before, was assassinated in 2003, prompting an increase in security around the country's heads of government. The former ultranationalist Vucic was Djindjic's political opponent at the time.

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ls/jm (Reuters, AP)

 

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