Slovak PM Fico’s Assassination Attempt Possibly Not A ‘Lone Wolf’ Attack


By Natália Silenská

(EurActiv) — The 71-year-old man who attempted to assassinate Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico last week may not have acted as a so-called “lone wolf”, Interior Minister Matúš Šutaj Eštok (Hlas) reported, adding he was not the one who deleted the alleged shooters Facebook history hours after the attack.

According to the new information from the new team set to investigate the assassination, the 71-year-old Slovak citizen who allegedly shot Fico on 15 May and has since been arrested had his Facebook and communication history deleted two hours after the incident.

“However, it was not deleted by him and apparently not by his wife either,” said Šutaj Eštok at a press conference on Sunday afternoon, which was focused on the security situation in the country and was attended by several government representatives.

“Based on this operational information, we are therefore also working with the possibility that a group of people is behind the assault,” Šutaj Eštok added.

Defence Minister Robert Kaliňák (Smer-SD) said that it was possible that the attacker had communicated with someone in his circle about the assassination attempt, making it more plausible “that he did not act alone”.

Pavol Gašpar, the deputy director in charge of Slovak Information Service (SIS), warned that the security situation in Slovakia is serious and is “not made any easier by the fact that foreign media are here, and Slovakia is in the centre of attention now”.

“It cannot be ruled out that we are a breeding ground for the activities of intelligence services from abroad,” Gašpar said.

His father, Tibor Gašpar, a Smer MP and chair of the parliamentary committee on defence and security, said they would convene a meeting next week to address the security situation.

I can imagine that only a war or a massive terrorist attack would represent a more serious situation than this,” Gašpar senior stated.

As of Sunday evening, Fico is still in hospital in Banská Bystrica, though, as stated by the hospital’s deputy director Milan Urbani, his life is no longer in danger, although his condition remains serious.

Situation not calming down

At the same time, the situation is relatively tense in the country.

Besides a great deal of disinformation about the incident being spread on social media, as well as hateful comments, Michal Šimečka, head of the leading opposition party Progressive Slovakia (PS), informed on Friday that he had to file a criminal complaint due to death threats addressed to him and his family.

Some government politicians have also started to blame the media and opposition for being indirectly responsible for the attack.

“The reason for the hatred and tension in Slovak society is not the changes in the Special Prosecutor’s Office, changes in the Criminal Code or in national broadcaster RTVS” but “what many politicians and you, many media, have made of them,” said Šutaj Eštok, for example, on social media.

While these bills have led to mass protests and the forming of petitions since last December, Slovak mainstream media and most of the opposition parties have rejected these allegations.

A call for calm and unification amid ongoing tensions that has called on all party leaders to gather at the presidential palace as called for by president-elect Peter Pellegrini (Hlas) and acting President Zuzana Čaputová is unlikely to take place.

“Recent days and press conferences have shown us that some politicians are simply incapable of basic self-reflection even after such a tragedy,” said Pellegrini in a video posted on social media.


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