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Kosovo Arrests Ethnic Serb Police Officer, Seeks Another In Ivanovic Slaying

Leading Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic was shot dead in Mitrovica in January 2018.
Leading Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic was shot dead in Mitrovica in January 2018.

PRISTINA -- Police in Kosovo say they have arrested an ethnic Serb police officer and another is being sought on suspicion of involvement in the slaying of Kosovo Serb leader Oliver Ivanovic nearly two years ago.

Police spokesman Baki Kelani said the officer was arrested early on October 16 on allegations of "hiding evidence and not carrying out the required duties" related to the killing of Ivanovic, who was gunned down in the northern Kosovar town of Mitrovica in January 2018.

Kelani added that the authorities were still working to detain the second police officer.

Neither of the suspects is believed to have actually carried out the slaying, prosecutors said.

Prosecutor Syle Hoxha said the two officers "are under the influence of [Milan] Radoicic's group."

He also alleged that Radoicic's "criminal group" has influence over Kosovo police and "other municipal structures in that area."

Kosovo in August issued an international arrest warrant for Radoicic, deputy leader of the Belgrade-supported Srpska Lista (Serbian List) party, which is suspected of involvement in Ivanovic's killing. Radoicic, who has denied any involvement in the slaying, is believed to be in Serbia.

After Kosovo gained independence from Serbia in 2008, Ivanovic became known as a relative moderate in favor of dialogue and compromise with ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and one of the chief interlocutors for international organizations seeking to bring stability and the rule of law to the country.

He was shot dead at age 64 as he arrived at his party office in Mitrovica, a town bitterly divided between Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority and minority Serbs, who dominate the northern area surrounding Mitrovica.

In Serbia, politician Milovan Drecun claimed the Kosovo arrest was a public show designed to put pressure on the Srpska Lista, which won 10 seats in Kosovo's snap elections earlier in October.

Kosovo's independence has not been recognized by Belgrade, Russia, and five EU members. The United States and more than 110 other countries have recognized Kosovo's independence.

With reporting by AP

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