Unknown terror group claims two police slayings
A young policeman was killed by a car bomb in this town of 87,000 in northern Slovakia on April 28.
The deceased, a 28-year old Žilina policeman, was killed shortly after he got in his car, a Tatra T 613, by a bomb placed under the driver's seat and which detonated from an outside post by a 9-volt battery, police reported. The officer was seriously wounded on his arm and leg and transported to the local hospital, where he died within three hours.
On the same day, an anonymous man speaking on behalf of the "Secret Army of Slovakia" claimed responsibility for the killing. In a telephone call made to the Slovak daily Nový Čas, a male voice announced that "the actions against members of the police corps such as the ones in Žilina and Bratislava will continue." When asked to identify himself, the man answered "the Secret Army of Slovakia" and hung up.
Peter Ondera, the Interior Ministry's spokesman, said he doubted the organization exists. "Most probably it was the same kind of phone call as 700 others we recorded last year - some lunatic poking fun," Ondera said.
The Žilina incident happened two days after another police officer was murdered in the Bratislava district of Petržalka.
On early Saturday morning, a 29-year old second lieutenant was killed in front of his apartment door by four gunshots to the head as he was returning home from his nightshift. According to the police, the assailant apparently waited on him.
Ondera said that so far the investigation hasn't revealed any link between the two killings. Apart from labelling the phone call a prank, he said that "there are several pieces of evidence that suggest the engagement of organized criminal groups in both cases."
Poisoned fish in Váh river
It was a heart-breaking scene when during the second week of April, residents coming to fish in the Váh river bank in this town of 19,000 in northern Slovakia, found that what they wanted to catch was already dead.
Indeed, the fishermen were confronted with the sight of masses of lifeless fish killed by a hitherto-unidentified chemical substance. According to officials at the local branch of the Slovak Sport Fishermen's Union, the ecological disaster caused damages worth approximately half a million Sk.
The fish, mostly concentrated in tributaries, looked like they had been totally bereft of oxygen, authorities said. The first to die were small fish, investigaors said, but later also larger fish like trout, grayling, or loach that are mostly immune to water pollution started to succumb. The town's residents carried some of the stricken fish to surrounding tributaries, but to no avail. The Veterinary Institute in Dolný Kubin is dissecting the dead fishes to determine the chemical substance that killed them.
Three homeless people consumed by fire
Two homeless men and a homeless woman burned to death in this city of 43,000 in southern Slovakia after a fire apparently lit by a candle consumed them, police reported. Police officials said that a huge fir erupted on April 21 at an abandoned heating station located near the Nitra river.
After a brief investigation, police reported that they had identified the charred bodies as belonging to two men aged 57 and 54, and a 42-year-old woman, Officers also reported that the trio used the heating station as their sleeping place. "The probable cause of this fire were the mattresses, cardboard and straw which homeless people use to sleep on," said Frantisek Jankovsky, the head of the fire department in Nove Zamky. "The only source of light for them during the night were candles, and they were what probably started the fire."
Compiled by Andrea Lörinczová from press reports
8. May 1997 at 0:00