Special Units of Kosovo Police. Photo: BIRN.

Kosovo police arrests five suspects for plotting terrorist attacks

Kosovo police on Sunday announced the arrest of five persons suspected of planning terrorist attacks, two of them reportedly well known to the authorities.

Kosovo’s Special Prosecution on Sunday said police had arrested five persons suspected of planning terrorist actions against country’s constitutional order and security.

Explosive devices, fire arms, drones and anti-tank weapons were seized during the operation, which was conducted after several months of covert investigation and surveillance, the prosecution said.

“Within the due time, Special Prosecution will file a request for detention of the five suspects,” the press release added.

BIRN has learned that the five were part of a radical Islamist group, and that two of them have also been arrested before for being part of such groups.

Sources told BIRN that Ardian Gjuraj from Peje/Pec is one of the five arrested.

In February 2018, he was sentenced to one year and five months in prison for terrorism but was released after five months by the Court of Appeals.

The indictment against him specified that while living in Germany during 2014-2015, Gjuraj had become a supporter of the terrorist organization ISIS.

His own father, Kujtim Cerkini, reported Gjuraj to the police and the German authorities extradited him to Kosovo in April 2015.

According to the same indictment, in December 2015 Gjuraj was part of an organization, called “Liza-R”, who travelled to Turkey and after arriving there he separated from the group and entered Syria to join the group of Kosovo fighters within ISIS.

The indictment said Gjuraj was arrested in February 25, 2016 by Turkish authorities after he illegally crossed the Syria-Turkey border.

The indictment states that Gjuraj had introduced himself to the Turkish authorities as a Russian national, named Ashab Arsayev. He got deported to Kosovo on September 5, 2016.

Since the start of the civil war in Syria in 2011, around 400 Kosovars are estimated to have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the warzone. Since then, around 20 people have been arrested by the Kosovo Police, for criminal offenses related to terrorism.

More than 260 Kosovars including fighters and their family members have been repatriated from the war zones of the Middle East since 2019; many of those who were part of the fighting lost their lives on the battlefields.

This article has been edited. In the previous version of it, it was stated that all of the suspects have previously been reportedly arrested for being part of terrorist groups, rather than two of them. 

and 11/10/2021 - 14:42

11 October 2021 - 14:42

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.