Serb seriously injured by 'Kosovo police bullets'

More tension in north due to anti-smuggling operation

13 October, 16:19

    BELGRADE - Tension has risen more in northern Kosovo after reports of a Serb being seriously injured in Zvecan by bullets that Serbian media say were shot by Kosovo police involved in putting down protests on Wednesday morning against a wide-ranging anti-smuggling operation.

    Belgrade media said that the man had been hit by a bullet in his shoulder and that he will be operated on.

    According to Petar Petkovic, head of the Serbian government office for Kosovo, dozens of Serbs were injured in incidents on Wednesday morning after the arrival of the Kosovo police.
    In a press conference in Belgrade, Petkovic spoke out against the situation, which he claimed had been caused by the "psychopath (i.e. Prime Minister Albin) Kurti".
    Petkovic added that, during the operation, heavily armed Kosovo special police units (ROSU) had been used, as well as armoured vehicles.
    Petkovic called on the Serb population to remain calm and not give in to the "provocations" from Kosovo authorities, which he said aim to spark a new, wide-ranging crisis. 

    According to a statement issued by Kosovo police, the anti-smuggling operation began in the early morning Wednesday and continued during the day, with goods of different natures confiscated, sparking protest from the Serb population.

    In the northern, Serb-majority sector of Kosovska Mitrovica and Zvecan, protestors have blocked some streets, throwing rocks and other objects at the police, who responded by firing tear gas and sound bombs.

    Serbian media reported that a car had been set fire to in the protests in northern Mitrovica.

    A police statement said that the anti-smuggling operating was also being conducted in the southern (Albanian-majority) sector of Mitrovica, the capital Pristina, Pec, and other locations.

    The operation is being conducted in coordination with customs services, prosecutors' offices and courts, on the order of which checks and searches are being carried out in shops, pharmacies, warehouses, depots, shops, and private homes.

    Meanwhile, the Serbian media report that President Aleksandar Vucic has gone to Raska in southern Serbia along the border with Kosovo for an urgent meeting with representatives of the Serb population in Kosovo.

    Protesting against the Kosovo police operation was also Serbian prime minister Ana Brnabic, who called for a reaction from the international community, the EU, and NATO against what she called the latest "provocations" by Kosovo prime minister Albin Kurti.

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