Kosovo: tension in north, 'two Serbians wounded in shootout'

13 Serbian police officers arrested. Belgrade army on high alert

28 May, 14:12

    Tension in northern Kosovo, 'two Serbians wounded in shootout' Tension in northern Kosovo, 'two Serbians wounded in shootout'

    BELGRADE - Two Serbians were slightly wounded in a shootout early on Tuesday in Zubin Potok, one of the main cities of Serbian-majority northern Kosovo, an area affected by arrests of security officials carried out by the special forces of Kosovo's police (Rosu), according to local media.

    Reports said that a gunfight was reported between Kosovan police and local residents. Police armored vehicles reportedly tore down barricades erected by the local population. Tension is high and authorities fear clashes.

    Early on Tuesday, Kosovo's special forces arrested 13 Serbians who are members of Kosovo's police forces. The reason for the arrests are unknown. According to local media reports, the arrests were carried out in the four main Serbian-majority municipalities of northern Kosovo - Zubon Potok, Mitrovica, Zvecan and Leposavic.

    The operation by special forces has been condemned by Belgrade. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic placed the army and police forces on alert after the arrest of the 13 police officers and called an urgent meeting of the national security council to discuss the tense situation. Vucic, according to the reports, has warned the EU that Serbia will react if Rosu special forces will not withdraw from northern Kosovo.

    In Kosovska Mitrovica, the bridge on the Ibar river that separates the northern (Serbian) sector from the southern (Albanian) one has been closed. Kfor has boosted its presence while on Tuesday morning sirens blared with groups of Serbians gathering in the main square of northern Mitrovica.

    ''They respond to our messages of peace with messages of war'', said in Belgrade Milovan Drecun, the head of the parliamentary mission for Kosovo. He said he believes the Kosovan side does not want dialogue anymore and the objective of such provocations would be to clash with the Serbian population to provoke Serbia's armed intervention.

    Kosovan President Hashim Thaci summoned to Pristina security and justice chiefs to discuss the situation connected to the police operation that led to the arrest of the ethnic Serbian policemen.

    Kosovan Premier Ramush Haradinaj confirmed the arrest on Tuesday morning in northern Kosovo of the police officers, saying it was an operation against smuggling and organized crime. ''I confirm the operation as part of the fight against trafficking and organized crime that also concerns policemen and customs officers'', Haradinaj was quoted as saying by Serbian media. The premier urged the population to remain calm.

    © Copyright ANSA - All rights reserved

    Business opportunities

    The information system of business
    opportunities abroad

    News from Mediterranean