Nephew of protected witness killed in car explosion

BELGRADE -- The nephew of a protected witness in the case against Darko Šarić's drug gang was killed when an explosive device was set off in his car.

The scene of a previous car bomb blast (Tanjug, file)
The scene of a previous car bomb blast (Tanjug, file)

The witness himself has been named in the media, while only the initials of the 32-year-old victim were given.

Another man was injured when the device, planted under his Audi A6, exploded in Belgrade on Tuesday.

B92 has learned that the blast happened while the car was driving over a speed bump. Some eyewitnesses said they saw a third person in the Audi, who allegedly escaped after the deadly incident.

In a similar case last month, a Montenegrin man described as a "controversial businessman" also died in Belgrade in a car bomb blast..

Sources with the Serbian police (MUP) are saying that the two cases bear "strong similarity".

The protected witness - Nebojša Joksović aka Joksa - was arrested in January 2010 and testified against Darko Šarić and his group's operations in Italy, as his former "chief associate" in that country.

After that, three RPGs were fired on a building housing Joksović's printing company in Belgrade in May 2011, while a hand grenade was thrown at a cafe that he owns.

Joksović was dubbed by the media "the key witness" in the case against the fugitive drug lord, while reports described the two as "friends since elementary school".

Joksović is currently kept by the police in a secret location in Belgrade. However, last December he attempted to escape, while Belgrade-based daily Blic reported at the time that he "never entered the witness protection program, and was freely moving around Belgrade".

Darko Šarić, meanwhile, remains at large. The Montenegrin who was in the mid-2000s given Serbian citizenship is suspected of attempting to smuggle nearly three tons of cocaine from South America to western Europe.