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The BBC's Terry Stiastny
"In recent weeks the Government has been cracking down on opposition movements"
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The BBC's John Simpson
"I think a lot of its to do with criminality"
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Friday, 16 June, 2000, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK
Milosevic blamed for shooting
draskovic
Wife Danica Draskovic shows a bullet hole
Serbian opposition leader Vuk Draskovic, wounded in an assassination attempt at his holiday home, has accused Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic of trying to kill him.

But government officials said the event could have been staged to gain the opposition leader public support.

Mr Draskovic, 53, who heads the Serbian Renewal Movement, was wounded in the temple and in one ear by gunmen who opened fire through the window of the house in the Yugoslav republic of Montenegro.



The security forces have turned the country into a lawless concentration camp

Vuk Draskovic
It is the latest in a series of assassination attempts on high-profile figures throughout Yugoslavia in the past year.

Mr Draskovic, who later returned to the house with bandages over his head, was asked if he blamed Mr Milosevic and his wife Mira Markovic for the shooting, and replied: "It is sure they did it."

Mr Draskovic predicted more attacks on the opposition.

"The security forces have turned the country into a lawless concentration camp where gangland-style killings continue to be the way of governing."


draskovic
Vuk Draskovic: Bullet grazed temple
Mr Draskovic's allegation was backed by other opposition leaders.

Zoran Djindjic, leader of Serbia's Democratic Party, said opponents of Mr Milosevic were living under "violence, repression and terror".

Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign and security policy chief, said the attack "illustrates the sad state of political affairs" in a country "where the use of brute force has become a standard method for settling political differences."

However, it is not clear what interest the government would have in removing Mr Draskovic - who has been as much a liability as an asset to the opposition - at this stage.

Prominent targets

Mr Draskovic was watching television in his apartment in the town of Budva on Montenegrin coast when his home was hit by automatic fire on Thursday night.

He is now under police protection in Montenegro after being released from hospital.


Bloodshed continues
June 2000: Vuk Draskovic survives shooting
May: Goran Zugic, national security adviser to pro-West Montenegrin president, shot dead
April: National airline chief shot dead in street
February: Defence minister Pavle Bulatovic shot dead in Belgrade
January: Serbian warlord Arkan shot dead in Belgrade
October 1999 Draskovic survives road accident "assassination attempt"

Mr Draskovic's aides say this is the second attempt on the life of the controversial leader of the opposition Serbian Renewal Movement.

Last October, he was involved in a mysterious car accident in which four of his staff were killed.

Members of Mr Draskovic's party blamed the Serbian secret service.

Only two weeks ago, the head of security for Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic was shot and killed in the capital, Podgorica.

In February, Yugoslavia's Defence Minister Pavle Bulatovic was shot dead in a fashion similar to the attempt on Mr Draskovic's life.

Mr Bulatovic was sitting in a restaurant when gunmen opened fire through the window.

Personal rivalries

Mr Draskovic had until recently been regarded as the most popular opposition figure in Yugoslavia.

But his personal rivalries and feuding with other leaders have been a major factor in preventing the opposition from mounting a serious challenge to Mr Milosevic's regime.

Mr Draskovic and other opposition party leaders are being upstaged by an increasingly popular student movement, Otpor.

Mr Draskovic has also been criticised by officials at the human rights organisation Helsinki Watch and by other opposition leaders in Belgrade for refusing to urge his supporters to protest against the silencing of opposition media by the regime.

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See also:

20 May 00 | Europe
Analysis: Tense times in Serbia
13 May 00 | Europe
Milosevic ally shot dead
15 Jan 00 | Europe
Serbian warlord shot dead
11 Jun 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Arkan 'victim of gang warfare'
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