Kosovo’s Report Reveals Banjska Terrorist Attack Details

Kosovo’s Foreign Affairs Ministry published a report on the September 24th terrorist attack in Banjska. It highlights a former Kosovo Police officer’s involvement, alleged Serbian state support, and ties to the May KFOR forces attack.

A report prepared by the Kosovo Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MFA, which was presented by Kosovo’s President to the UN Security Council, claims that the armed group that carried out a terrorist attack on the police in the village of Banjska on September 24th, where one officer was killed and two others were injured, had entered through an illegal point of entry called Izvor, connecting Banjska in the municipality of Zvecan and the city of Novi Pazar in Serbia.

The distance between the border and Banjska village is approximately 14 kilometers.

According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, the armed group that carried out a terrorist attack on September 24 in Banjska, entered through an illegal point of entry called Izvor, connecting Banjska in the municipality of Zvecan and the city of Novi Pazar in Serbia. Own illustration, based on data from the report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Credits: Blerta Begisholli/Prishtina Insight. 

The details used in the MFA document emphasize that they managed to extract photographs and other materials from the phones of the members of the terrorist group found in Banjska.

“The terrorist group departed from Novi Pazar on the afternoon of September 23rd and headed towards the northern part of Mitrovica,” the report states.

The terrorist attack operation on Kosovo Police was led by the former deputy leader of the Serbian List party, Milan Radoicic.

He admitted to organizing the terrorist attack in Banjska, taking care of logistics, arming, and is currently at liberty in Serbia.

Additionally, Radoicic has tendered his resignation from the position of Vice President of Lista Srpska, the Belgrad-backed Serbian party in Kosovo, a move confirmed by his attorney, Goran Petronijevic.

In his statement, Radoicic explicitly clarified that he did not act on behalf of Lista Srpska during the attack in Kosovo.

Former Kosovo Police Special Unit Officer Involved in the Banjska Attack

Former chief of the Special Units of the Kosovo Police in the northern region of Kosovo, Uglesha Jaredic, was identified among the individuals involved in the terrorist attack on the police in Banjska, according to the report.

Jaredic was head of the special police unit in Northern Mitrovica until a few weeks before the mass resignation of police officers in December 2022.

He was suspended from duty in February 2022 under suspicion of committing a criminal act of domestic violence. His ex-wife had reported him for domestic violence, which led to his suspension.

To document his involvement, the Ministry used a photo where Jaredic is seen in a car with two other people in military uniforms.

The leader of the northern special units was portrayed as an influential figure in northern Kosovo and was seen leading special police units on several occasions.

Serbia’s State Support for the Terrorist Group

The presence of Milan Radoicic and other Serbian List officials at the Serbian Army demonstration “Granite 2023” on April 22nd in Batajnica is being considered as Serbia’s support for Radoicic and the terrorist group, according to the MFA report.

MFA attached a photo dated April 22, 2023, where Radoicic, accompanied by the former leader of the Serbian List, Goran Rakic, deputy, Igor Simic, the head of the Office for Kosovo of Serbia, Petar Petkovic, and two other individuals were photographed at the Serbian Army’s demonstration “Granite 2023,” which took place at the airbase in Batajnica.

Radoicic was seen alongside representatives of the Serbian List and Petkovic in front of Serbian military personnel and artillery.

The weapons used and found in Banjska, according to MFA, were manufactured in Serbia and Russia, highlighting that all these weapons cannot be used without the permission of the state producing them, in this case, Serbia, and cannot be found on the black market as well.

A BIRN investigation showed that some of the weapons seized from Serb gunmen in northern Kosovo  passed through Serbian state hands at some point over the past five years. The markings and their position on the bullets seized by the Kosovo Police correspond with those on the same caliber bullets advertised on the official website of Belom, the newest addition to Serbia’s arms industry, registered in the Serbian business registry in 2016.

Serbia denied involvement in the Banjska attack in northern Kosovo.

Connection of the Terrorist Group Members to the Attack on NATO Troops

The MFA report also highlighted that the assailants against NATO troops in Kosovo in May of this year were part of the terrorist group in Banjska.

On the day when the newly-elected Kosovo-Albanian leaders from the April elections took office in the municipal buildings in Northern Mitrovica, Leposavic, Zubin Potok, and Zvecan, local Serbs from three of these cities had gathered to protest against the new leadership.

These protests turned violent as hooligan groups attacked Kosovo police, KFOR troops, and the media.

The protests, starting on May 26, escalated on May 29, especially in Zvecan, where the targets of stones and other projectiles were KFOR soldiers guarding the Municipal building.

Several KFOR soldiers were injured and one had his leg amputated due to injuries.

Stefan Jovanovic was identified as the individual photographed on May 29, 2023, in Zvecan during the attacks on KFOR troops by the group led by Millun Milenkovic, known by the nickname “Llune,” who is mentioned in this report as one of the leaders of the “Civil Defense” organization and the deputy commander of the “Northern Brigade.”

The government of Kosovo had declared these two organizations as terrorists before the attack on the police in Banjska.

Regarding Jovanovic, MFA also stated that he is believed to be a member of the terrorist group responsible for the attack in Banjska.

The document identifying Jovanovic, a Serbian ID card, was found in Banjska on the day of the aggression.

On October 19th the European Parliament approved a resolution condemning the terrorist attack on Kosovo police that occurred in Banjska village on September 24. The resolution calls for sanctions against Serbia, if its involvement is proven, and removal of sanctions for Kosovo. 

Resolutions regarding the terrorist attack in Banjska, as well as requests for a response from the west, have been approved by the Assembly of Kosovo and Albania.

Blerta Begisholli contributed to the preparation of this article. 

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