Kosovo’s prime minister on Sunday stated one police officer was killed and one other wounded in an assault he blamed on assist from neighboring Serbia, growing tensions between the 2 former warfare foes at a fragile second of their European Union-facilitated dialogue to normalize ties.
Prime Minister Albin Kurti stated “masked professionals armed with heavy weapons” opened fireplace on a police patrol within the village of Banjska, in Leposavic municipality, 55 kilometers (35 miles) north of the capital Pristina at 3 a.m. (1 a.m. GMT).
Kosovo police stated two vehicles with out license plates blocked a bridge on the entrance to the village. Three police items have been despatched to unblock it however got here underneath fireplace from totally different positions with numerous weapons, together with hand grenades and bombs.
Police managed to push again the assault and take two injured cops on the hospital in southern Mitrovica.
One in all them was useless on arrival, docs stated. The situation of the opposite isn’t life-threatening.
Talking after a gathering of the nation’s Safety Council Sunday, Kurti stated it was a “unhappy day” for Kosovo and named the useless police officer as Afrim Bunjaku.
The prime minister displayed a set of photographs which confirmed numerous four-wheel drive automobiles with out license plates and an armored personnel service “which doesn’t belong to the Kosovo police,” close to the Orthodox monastery in Banjska.
There was ongoing gunfire from what he described as a bunch of not less than 30 army professionals, masked and closely armed.
“It’s clear that these uniformed individuals, not less than 30, are an organized skilled unit who’ve come to struggle in Kosovo,” he stated, calling on them handy themselves over to the Kosovar authorities.
Most of Kosovo’s ethnic Serb minority lives in 4 municipalities round Mitrovica, within the north.
Stories in Kosovo Serb media stated residents of Banjska have been woken by shootings and explosions within the evening.
“It was an actual little warfare: first some gunfire, then silence, shootings, detonations,” Serbian Kossev information company quoted an unidentified resident as saying.
Serbian media stated each native roads and crossings with Serbia have been blocked.
“Organized crime, which is politically, financially and logistically supported from Belgrade, is attacking our state,” Kurti wrote on his Fb web page.
Kosovar President Vjosa Osmani, who’s in New York on the United Nations Basic Meeting, denounced the killing.
“Such assaults testify as soon as once more to the destabilizing energy of the felony bands organized from Serbia which for a very long time … are destabilizing Kosovo and the area,” she stated.
In an announcement, the U.S. ambassador in Pristina “strongly condemns the orchestrated, violent assaults on the Kosovo Police this morning,” including that “the Kosovo Police has full and legit accountability for implementing the rule of regulation in line with the structure and legal guidelines of Kosovo.”
Serbia’s parliamentary speaker Vladimir Orlic stated Kurti “was fast in charge the Serbs,” including that Kurti was the one who wished an “escalation.”
“He (Kurti) stated it was some type of organized motion by professionals,” Orlic instructed native Prva tv station. “They will need to have been recognized and he is aware of who they’re and what they’re, and all the pieces is obvious.”
Earlier this month, an EU-facilitated dialogue assembly in Brussels between Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic resulted in acrimony. Washington has absolutely supported the negotiations and the stance of the EU.