"Crime groups, separatists main threat"

BELGRADE -- Interior Minister Ivica Dačić said that there were 27 registered organized crime groups at the end of 2009 in Serbia.

Ivica Dačić (Tanjug, file)
Ivica Dačić (Tanjug, file)

He said that these crime groups have more than 200 members and that most sell and smuggle drugs.

Dačić submitted the work report for 2009 to the Parliamentary Committee for Security and Defense, adding that police uncovered seven criminal groups in 2009 and arrested 86 persons.

Dačić stated that the security situation was stable in Serbia, but said that ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo pose a problem, along with organized crime.

“International forces have not been able to secure a safe life for Serbs living in Kosovo,” Dačić said, adding that there were 67 Serbs injured last year in attacks by Albanian extremists.

He said that they were mostly physical attacks against Serbs, stones being thrown at them and their property, setting their property on fire, and added that most of the attacks occurred in the towns of Kosovska Mitrovica and Gnjilane.

According to the statistics of the Interior Ministry, there are about 120,000 Serbs living in Kosovo and 80,000 other non-Albanians, adding that there were about 279,000 before the conflicts began in 1999.

Dačić said that a small number of returns by internally displaced people from Kosovo had been registered over the last year.