Belgrade, Oct 3 (EFE).- Serbian authorities on Tuesday arrested Milan Radoičić, the leader of the group of Kosovo Serbs who attacked a Kosovo police patrol on Sept. 24, triggering a shootout that killed a Kosovo police officer and three of the attackers.
A wealthy businessman with close ties to the Serbian government, Radoičić fled to Serbia after the attack, one of the most serious incidents in Kosovo in years.
Radoičić, under US sanctions for his links to organized crime and corruption, claimed responsibility last week for the attack, carried out by about 30 people in Banjska in northern Kosovo.
He claimed at the time that he aimed to “encourage” the Serb people to resist the “terror” he said the Kosovo government was unleashing on that minority and absolved the Belgrade authorities of responsibility.
Radoičić is also a politician, and after the attack, he resigned as vice president of the Serb List, the largest Serb political party in Kosovo.
The Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement that it had requested the pre-trial detention of Radoičić, 45, as a flight risk after questioning him on suspicion of committing criminal acts, illegal possession and trafficking of weapons and severe crimes against general security and endangering human life.
He is also accused of acquiring weapons, ammunition, and explosives in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which he picked up in Belgrade and transported to Kosovo.
Radoičić is considered one of Serbia’s wealthiest business people and a close associate of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić.
The Kosovo government has accused Serbia of being behind the attack, which the Serbian authorities have denied, while also accusing Kosovo of discriminating against Serbs on its territory.
This former province of Serbia, populated mainly by ethnic Albanians, declared independence in 2008, something Belgrade and Kosovo Serbs do not recognize.
The European Union, with the support of the United States, is mediating in the complex negotiations for Kosovo and Serbia to normalize their relations, which have deteriorated since last year with numerous episodes of violence. EFE