Kosovo Police report one wounded and ten arrested on Tuesday morning as an operation to tackle contraband in Zubin Potok, North Mitrovica and Leposavic is underway.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Kosovo Police launched a widespread action to tackle the illegal smuggling of goods in the north of Kosovo, BIRN reports. Armored vehicles were reported to be driven by Kosovo Police into the north to arrest ten individuals, including members of the Kosovo Police.
BIRN has discovered that one member of the Kosovo Police force involved in the raid, which specifically tackled illegal trade routes running from Serbia into north Kosovo, was wounded lightly during the operation.
Tuesday morning’s arrests were ordered by the Kosovo Special Prosecution. State prosecutor Syle Hoxha confirmed to BIRN on Tuesday that among the ten arrested is a high ranking commanding officer within the police force of Zubin Potok.
As a BIRN team in the north reports, while the operation was underway, sirens were set off throughout North Mitrovica to notify citizens of the presence of Kosovo Police. Setting off alarms in the north of Kosovo was typically done by the Serb parallel structures that controlled law enforcement in northern Kosovo before the Brussels Agreement was signed by Kosovo and Serbia in 2013, which foresaw the integration of Serb parallel structures into the Kosovo Police.
The illegal smuggling of goods into Kosovo from Serbia was an issue that Kosovo Police dealt with long before integration of parallel structures was carried out. However, it did not stop when Serb structures became part of the Kosovo system.
The security situation in northern Kosovo remains calm as Kosovo Police complete the operation.
Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj called for “calm” in the north of Kosovo, and implored that citizens respect the law in a Facebook post on Tuesday morning.
BIRN reported previously on the connections between Kosovo Police and smugglers in the north of Kosovo, who use illegal routes to cross from Serbia to the north of Kosovo and then distribute various goods including cattle and petrol to other parts of Kosovo.
The illegal import of goods continued even in the aftermath of the 100 per cent tariff increase that was introduced on Serbian goods coming into Kosovo by the Kosovo Government in November 2018.
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