Kosovo makes Serbia responsible, Serbia the Kosovo Serbs regarding the attack in the North of Kosovo

 Kosovo Police in North Mitrovica (archive)
 A member of the Kosovo Police was killed, and several others were injured in clashes with an armed group in the northern part of the country, predominantly inhabited by Serbs.

Police officer Afrim Bunjaku, from the village of Samadrexhë in the municipality of Vushtrri, died from the injuries sustained in the attack, authorities confirmed, Radio Free Europe reports.

According to them, police units noticed the placement of two unmarked trucks at the entrance of the Banjskë village, which had blocked traffic in the early hours of Sunday.

The units that arrived at the scene were shot at, and one of the police officers was killed.

Authorities said that the attackers - around 30 of them - had taken position in the monastery of Banjskë in the municipality of Zvečan and its surroundings.

They exchanged fire with law enforcement throughout Sunday.

In the evening hours, Kosovo's Interior Minister Xhelal Sveçla stated that three attackers had been killed, and six individuals suspected of being in contact with them had been arrested.

"The entire territory of the country is under control," said Sveçla but did not say whether the other armed individuals had left.

According to him, the Kosovo Police have also discovered a large quantity of weaponry, including explosives, uniforms, logistics, food, and equipment for barricades.

"We can freely say that these were supplies for several hundred more attackers," said the Interior Minister, adding that the police are also checking some pilgrims who were in the monastery to verify whether any of the attackers hid among them.

The Special Prosecutor's Office of Kosovo said that the six arrested individuals, who have been placed in 48-hour detention, are suspected of "serious offenses against the constitutional order and security of the Republic of Kosovo," "attacks against the constitutional order of the Republic of Kosovo," "preparation of terrorist acts," and "unauthorized possession of weapons."

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti stated that the attack was supported by Serbia.

Speaking at a press conference, Kurti described the armed assailants as "a professionally organized unit that has come to fight in Kosovo."

He called on the group to surrender to Kosovar authorities.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said that the armed individuals were local Serbs from Kosovo, "who could no longer bear Kurti's terror."

Vučić condemned the killing of the Kosovo police officer, saying that it "cannot be justified," but denied any connection to Belgrade.

When asked by reporters how the local Serbs obtained the uniforms they were seen wearing in photographs, Vučić said, "Those are not uniforms of the Serbian army or Serbian police." He explained that such uniforms can be bought anywhere in the market.

"The only culprit for what happened in Kosovo is Albin Kurti," said Vučić, criticizing the West and what he called its "hypocrisy" when it comes to Kosovo.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008, but Serbia continues to oppose it.

With the mediation of the European Union, the two countries have been in negotiations for the normalization of relations since 2011.

The latest round of talks between them, on September 14, ended without an agreement.

Kosovo Police said on Sunday evening that the situation in the north, specifically in the village of Banjskë, remains tense, although the intensity of attacks against police officers has decreased.

Several local roads and two border crossings with Serbia, Jarinjë and Bërnjak, were closed during the day.

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani declared Monday a day of mourning in honor of the slain police officer Afrim Bunjaku.

NATO's mission in Kosovo, KFOR, condemned the killing and stated that it is closely monitoring the situation in Banjskë.

"KFOR troops are present in this area, ready to react if required", said the peacekeeping mission.

The United States and the European Union also said they strongly condemn the attack.

On Sunday night, citizens lit candles in front of the headquarters of the Kosovo Police in Pristina, as a sign of respect for the murdered policeman.
Previous Post Next Post