Yugoslavia claims to have arrested Western saboteurs

The Yugoslav army said yesterday that it had arrested two Britons and two Canadians with military equipment and explosives in…

The Yugoslav army said yesterday that it had arrested two Britons and two Canadians with military equipment and explosives in Montenegro, saying they appeared to be trained in sabotage. It said a patrol had arrested them on Tuesday night along the boundary with Kosovo, but not near a crossing point.

"Yugoslav army personnel mounted an efficient action and arrested four armed foreign citizens with military equipment, demolition equipment etc," it said.

It named the Britons as Mr Adrian Michael Prandnel and Mr John Connon Bradley Yore, and said the Canadians were Mr Shaun Gerald Going and Mr Liam Patrick Hall.

A press officer for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Kosovo, Ms Laura O'Mahoney, confirmed that the Britons named by the Yugoslav army were two missing OSCE personnel who worked for a police training school in Kosovo.


"The four of them were on holiday in Montenegro," said Ms O'Mahoney. "They were confirmed missing on Wednesday and, contrary to reports, they were not armed at the time."

Ms O'Mahoney said Mr Yore and Mr Pragnall were British police officials based in Pristina and working as part of the OSCE-sponsored International Cadre of Police Instructors. "These are not men who are armed while they are in Kosovo," she added.

The two Canadians, Mr Going and his nephew, Mr Hall, were working for the Kosovo-based Meridian Resources construction company.

The independent Montena-fax News Agency based in the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica, said that the four had been arrested on Tuesday on Mount Cakor, near Montenegro's border with Kosovo.

A Yugoslav army spokesman, Col Slobodan Stojanovic, said they were "not tourists but terrorists". A Yugoslav army statement said they were armed with military equipment and explosives and were involved in training special units of the Montenegrin police.

Montenegro's 15,000-strong Spezijalni, or special police, provides the backbone to the prowestern government of Mr Milo Djukanovic, who is facing off the Belgrade government of President Slobodan Milosevic after announcing an effective boycott of Yugoslav parliamentary elections due to be held on September 24th.

Fears in Montenegro are that Mr Milosevic will stage a coup to oust Mr Djukanovic, preventing the second-last republic in the Yugoslav Federation from seceding.

Officers from the special police have claimed in media reports this week that they have been trained by units of Britain's 22 Special Air Services regiment.

Officials from NATO and the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) dismissed as "laughable" the idea that any of the arrested men could have been involved in programmes to train Montenegrin police units.

British special forces have been involved in missions in the former Yugoslavia.