Vucic blames Kurti for police ambush, murder, monastery standoff in north

by Cristian Florescu

The President of Serbia, Aleksander Vucic, has attributed a series of consequential incidents on Sunday, resulting in four fatalities, including a police officer, numerous arrests, and a substantial confiscation of weaponry and ammunition in the predominantly Serbian region of northern Kosovo, to Prime Minister Albin Kurti.

During the early hours of Sunday morning, a Kosovo police patrol was unexpectedly attacked by a group of approximately 30 individuals who possessed a significant arsenal of firearms. These assailants were also equipped with armoured vehicles, resulting in the unfortunate death of one officer and the injury of another. Subsequently, the perpetrators sought refuge within a nearby monastery, fortifying their position and engaging in a prolonged exchange of gunfire with law enforcement personnel.

The Kosovo authorities have reported the fatalities of three individuals and the apprehension of five individuals in response to the exchange of gunfire that occurred in the village of Bajske.

According to a statement released by the Kosovo police, the currently available data officially verifies the elimination of three assailants, the apprehension of one assailant, the detainment of four individuals who were discovered in possession of radio communication devices, and the discovery of a substantial quantity of weaponry, ammunition, and assorted equipment.

The situation concluded on Sunday evening, as Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla asserted that they had successfully gained control over the territory through a series of successive confrontations.

In the course of the police operation, a residential premises underwent a thorough search, leading to the discovery of presumed military vehicles, uniforms, weaponry, and ammunition. Subsequently, as part of police checkpoints, four individuals were apprehended, found to be in possession of radios, and are now under suspicion for potential involvement in criminal endeavours.

During a press conference, Albin Kurti, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, expressed the challenging nature of Sundays in Kosovo.

The homicide of the police officer should be utilized as a catalyst to further invigorate efforts in combating gangs, illicit organizations, criminal activities, and acts of terrorism that pose a significant threat to the safety of individuals and the integrity of the constitutional framework.

Additionally, he asserted that the individuals responsible for the attacks were operatives affiliated with the Serbian government, engaging in acts of terrorism.

However, Vucic refuted any Serbian participation in his televised national speech on Sunday evening.

The attire worn by the individuals in question did not correspond to the official uniforms of the Serbian armed forces or law enforcement. It is worth noting that the availability of uniforms for purchase in the current market is widespread, and the weapons they possess are readily obtainable.

According to him, Kurti is the sole individual responsible for the situation.

The individual’s primary objective is to involve us in a conflict with NATO. This is the sole aspiration they possess and it has been their exclusive focus throughout this period.

Additionally, he asserted that the individuals of Serbian descent who erected barriers and subsequently engaged in confrontations with law enforcement did not originate from Serbia.

The individuals in question are individuals of Serbian descent residing in Kosovo who engaged in acts of rebellion due to their inability to tolerate the oppressive actions of Kurti.

The president of Serbia stated that they have observed and tracked the activities of the Albanian police, and possess substantial evidence. They further asserted their intention to disclose their conclusive determination within the forthcoming days.

The Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo responded to the outbreak of violence by advocating for the re-establishment of law and order.

The Diocese strongly condemns the explicit acts of violence taking place within the religious establishment of the Serbian Orthodox Church and implores all involved parties to promptly halt their aggressive actions, as stated on X.

In early July, Alicia Kearns, a member of the British Parliament, asserted that arms are being illicitly transported within ambulances and subsequently concealed in ecclesiastical premises within the northern region of Kosovo.

During that period, KFOR, NATO’s military mission in Kosovo, asserted that the claims made by the British MP lacked substantiating evidence, while the Kosovo authorities initiated inquiries.

In response to the accusations, Vucic denigrated the individual as a lobbyist and further asserted that an investigation would be initiated to ascertain the source of her financial backing.

The German Foreign Ministry also responded by expressing their intention to dispatch their representative.

The German Foreign Ministry expressed its strongest condemnation of the devastating assault on the Kosovo Police, conveying their profound sympathy towards the deceased officer’s family and those who sustained severe injuries. Emphasizing the urgent need for cessation, the Foreign Ministry firmly demanded that illegal armed factions cease their hazardous activities, further asserting the imperative of holding the perpetrators accountable. Manuel Sarrazin, a representative of the German government, is scheduled to embark on a trip to Kosovo today.

In the interim, the European Union Commission released a formal declaration denouncing the assault and urging a thorough investigation to ascertain the complete set of circumstances, while also demanding the prosecution of those responsible.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the heinous attack by an armed gang against Kosovo police officers in Bangska/Banjski in northern Kosovo, which led to the death of a police officer and the injury of two others. All the facts about the attack must be established. “All the facts about the attack must be established,” said Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat. The perpetrators responsible must face justice.

The ongoing hostilities in the vicinity of Banjska Monastery pose a threat to a greater number of innocent lives. It is imperative for these attacks to cease without delay. EULEX, serving as the secondary security responder, is present on-site and maintaining close communication with the relevant authorities and KFOR.

Kurti has consistently advocated for the cessation of criminal and heavily armed gang activities in the northern region, prompting Pristina to conduct numerous law enforcement operations in recent months aimed at dismantling drug trafficking, arms smuggling, and cryptocurrency mining operations. Kurti emphasized the imperative of de-escalating the situation in the north by urging an immediate halt to violence perpetrated by criminal gangs against the police, NATO, journalists, and mayors. He further proposed that contingent upon the eradication and apprehension of these gangs, the police presence could be proportionately reduced in accordance with the security situation.

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