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Slovenia politician's masked militia sparks alarm

[IMG]https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/320/cpsprodpb/2646/production/_103289790_slovenia.png" width="976" height="549">
Video of the militants appeared on Facebook
Slovenian President Borut Pahor has expressed concern after social media images revealed a masked armed group led by an ex-presidential candidate.Fringe politician Andrej Sisko said his group - seen conducting training drills - would "secure public peace and order" if needed.President Pahor said there was no place for such a group in the "safe" country.Police are investigating the group, which posed with assault rifles but denies being a paramilitary unit.
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Video posted on the Facebook page of Slovenka TV, which describes itself as a non-profit organisation, shows some 70 masked people led by an unmasked Mr Sisko, who once served prison time for attempted murder.
He won 2.2% of the vote last year when he ran for president of the small EU state, which was once part of the former Yugoslavia.He lost out to Mr Pahor, whose cabinet said in a statement: "President Pahor stresses that Slovenia is a safe country in which no unauthorised person needs or is allowed to... illegally care for the security of the country and its borders."
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Posted by Slovenka TV on Monday, 3 September 2018
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End of Facebook post by Slovenka TV
Mr Sisko denied the group - called the Stajerska Guard after a north-eastern region - was doing anything illegal, telling Reuters news agency it was a voluntary defence force consisting of "several hundred people".However, he conceded the weapons they carried had not been registered with authorities.
Fewer than 1%
By Guy Delauney, BBC correspondentAndrej Sisko is far out on the fringe of Slovenian politics. He styles himself as a patriot, fighting to preserve the Slovenian people and the country's distinct identity - in the face of much larger neighbours populated by different ethnic groups. On occasion, this ideological fight has spilled over into real violence. Mr Sisko served a two-year jail sentence after planting a car bomb. He also has a long track record of forming or joining militia groups.He will welcome the publicity gained by his latest stunt. But the public remain indifferent: his United Slovenia Movement gained just 0.6% of the vote in June's general election.
National security expert Iztok Prezelj told local media the group had all the markings of a militia: "They have a flag and uniform, but also from photographs, it's obvious that they have some common emblem on the t-shirts."The University of Ljubljana vice-dean added: "Currently, Slovenia is not at risk of security, so I do not see the need to organise any armed formations, in addition to the army and the police.""The police have not visited me so far but I expect their visit," Mr Sisko said. "We are doing nothing wrong and we would be even interested in cooperating with the police."His party, the centre-right United Slovenia Movement, has no connection to the militia, he said.
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