Montenegro vows to crack down on organized crime after blast

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Montenegro's government has vowed to crack down on organized crime after an explosion this week at a sports center which killed two people, in the latest outburst of organized crime-linked violence.

Organized crime and corruption have persistently plagued Montenegro, which has repeatedly pledged to tackle these scourges under pressure from the European Union.

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The country's National Security Council said it had adopted a series of measures late Friday night for an “urgent and decisive response to strengthening the fight against organized crime.”

It did not outline the details of the measures being adopted.

“The fight against organized crime requires a united and decisive response” the government said in a statement, adding “the intelligence and security sector will ensure that all citizens feel safe and protected from criminal acts.”

The National Security Council session was called a day after two people were killed and three injured in a blast Thursday morning in Montenegro's southern city of Cetinje.

The explosion occurred near a sports facility, shattering the glass of the complex and uprooting a nearby tree, according to footage broadcast on local television.

The director of Montenegro's police force, Aleksandar Radovic, said the explosion killed “members of an organized criminal group.”

“This day must never happen again,” Radovic told reporters, saying innocent bystanders were also injured by the blast.

“This is a red line. Montenegro cannot afford a single accidental victim,” he added.

Montenegrin media reported that the victims were members of the “Skaljari” outfit -- one of the criminal clans from the coastal town of Kotor along the Adriatic.

Cetinje is the site of the former royal capital and sits in a mountainous valley that has largely stagnated economically.

The area and its surroundings are strongholds of organized criminal groups, and clashes erupt sporadically between rival mafia clans.

Violent incidents remain relatively rare in the tiny Adriatic nation, whose picturesque beaches and mountains are a magnet for tourists.

Last year, a man set off an explosive device at a court building in the capital, Podgorica, killing himself and injuring five other people.

Two years ago, a gunman went on the rampage in Cetinje, killing 10 people.

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