Gjakova captured by a drone. Photo: BIRN

Renowned Serb returnee to Gjakova suffers break-in

Dragica Gasic, a post-war returnee who has become well-known in both Kosovo and Serbia, has claimed her home in Kosovo was broken into this week and her food and medicine stolen.

Kosovo police have confirmed that the apartment of the first displaced ethnic Serb to return to Gjakova since the war was broken into on Tuesday.

Nusret Xhurkaj, spokesperson for the Gjakova police, told BIRN on Wednesday that around noon a day earlier, Gasic had reported to the police that someone had broken into her apartment.

“Gasic returned from visiting her sister in Klina and around 12 p.m. she reported to the police that an unidentified person broke into her house,” Xhurkaj told BIRN.

Gasic told the police that some personal items had gone missing, such as “food, one security camera and internet connection devices.” Xhurkaj said there are no suspects yet and investigations are ongoing.

Gasic told Kosovo Serbian media outlet Kosovo online: “They also took medicine, and I am a heart patient and a diabetic.”

BIRN was not able to contact Gasic.

Radio Free Europe reported that the Serbian government’s office for Kosovo would be informing EU authorities and international missions in Kosovo about the incident.

Dragica Gasic became known to the Kosovo public in June 2021 when she decided to return to her apartment that she left in June 1999, when thousands of Kosovo Serbs left their homes in fear of retaliation by Kosovo Albanians who were returning after the withdrawal of Serbian forces from Kosovo following 78 days of NATO air strikes.

Gjakova was one of the most heavily damaged towns during Kosovo’s 1998-99 war.

Gasic returned after Kosovo’s Property Comparison and Verification Agency allowed her to use her apartment again, after it had been occupied by others since the war.

In late June, Gasic made headlines in Kosovo and Serbia when it was reported that her plan to put a reinforced door on her apartment was refused by the municipality. Police denied involvement in the issue.

In July, the municipality of Gjakova asked the Gjakova Basic Court to annul the rent contract for the apartment Gasic was living in until June 1999.

Donika Grezda, a Gjakova municipal spokesperson, told BIRN that the municipality had taken the case to court to review it. The court has not provided a timeline.

Gasic has claimed that she has constantly been threatened. In late June, she said people were banging on her door, throwing stones and pasting pictures “that they will slaughter me and kill me.” However, she said she was not worried. “I am not afraid, if I was afraid I would not even have come back,” Gasic told BIRN in July.

The head of Serbia’s office for Kosovo, Petar Petkovic, said there have been some 70 attacks on Serbs or their property in Kosovo this year, which is almost as many as during the whole of 2020. According to Petkovic, there were 80 attacks last year.

28/07/2021 - 15:41

28 July 2021 - 15:41

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