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Serbia: Police Search For Killer Of Deputy Interior Minister

Belgrade, 11 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Serbian police say they are conducting a massive search for the killer of the country's deputy Interior Minister, Radovan Stojicic. A large number of police officers were reported on the streets of Belgrade this evening. Stojicic was shot dead by a masked gunman with an automatic rifle in a Belgrade restaurant shortly after noon. The gunman fled.

Our correspondent in Belgrade confirms that Stojicic was shot while dining with his son and an unidentified friend who was injured in the attack.

The speaker of the Serbian Parliament says Stojicic's killing has "seriously jeopardized the conscience of the Serbian people." Speaker Dragan Tomic called the killing "a tragic death" and a "warning" that a tough fight against crime is needed in Serbia.

Zoran Djindjic, Belgrade's mayor and an opposition leader, said the murder showed no one was safe in Belgrade. The motive for the murder is not clear.

Stojicic, who went by the nickname "Badza," had been seen as one of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's closest advisors. He was in charge of public security.

Stojicic first won Milosevic's confidence in 1991 when he led Serbia's special police forces in eastern Croatia. He recently had been promoted to the rank of police general. A police statement is expected later in the day.