Kosovo police vehicles close to the border with Serbia in Bernjak on Friday. Photo: BIRN/Adelina Ahmeti

Kosovo Police Officers Attacked Near Border with Serbia

Kosovo’s interior minister said that the police officers have been attacked in an "act of terrorism" close to the border with Serbia, where a road used for smuggling contraband goods was recently closed.

Kosovo’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Xhelal Svecla, announced at a press conference on Friday with Kosovo Police director Samedin Mehmeti that there have been four attacks on police officers in the last three days near the border with Serbia.

“Various groups in the last three days have committed four attacks” in Zubin Potok, a Serb-majority municipality in the north of Kosovo, Svecla said.

Kosovo PM, Albin Kurti, invited law enforcement authorities to shed light on the cases and to consider measures that prevent further similar attacks.

“They are not attacks on material goods, they are not attacks on citizens either, but they are attacks on police officers and attacks that intended to kill,” Kurti told the media on Monday.

Svecla explained that the latest attack happened around 7.40am on Friday, targeting Kosovo Police officers “who were going to change shifts at the border crossing points”.

“The attack with hand grenades and an AK-47, a terrorist act, was carried out with the purpose of frightening the police officials and the citizens of Kosovo,” he said.

“The two cars transporting the police officials at the border crossing points were directly shot at,” Svecla added.

He said that two of the four attacks were carried out at around 8am when police officers were changing shifts.

Svecla showed photos of the damage caused by the attacks. He said that the first one happened on Wednesday, when metal anti-take obstacles were placed on the road in order to target the police officers.

In the second incident, on the same day, police vehicles were attacked with rocks. The third attack happened on Thursday evening, when gunshots were fired at police officers.

Svecla claimed the attacks were launched because Kosovo police have now turned into an “obstacle” for Serbian-backed organised criminal groups.

Police director Mehmeti claimed that the attacks were “synchronised” and very close to one another, and that police believe they were carried out by an organised group.

Mehmeti explained that the attacks happened 200 to 300 metres from where a police patrol was located in the village of Bube in Zubin Potok, “where a little while ago we closed an illegal road used for contraband goods”.

In late February 2022, Kosovo police blocked roads that had been used for smuggling in border areas connecting Kosovo with Serbia as well as the border area with North Macedonia.

Kosovo Police’s Anti-Terrorism Unit and the Special Prosecution are now investigating the attacks.

The main road to the border crossing point with Serbia in Bernjak was closed on Friday by Kosovo Police while prosecutors and police investigators gathered evidence in the area in which the attacks happened.

Note: news was updated to include PM Kurti’s reaction. 

15/04/2022 - 16:44

15 April 2022 - 16:44

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