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news 29 Aug 16

New Bomb Attack Shocks Kosovo Broadcaster

Kosovo's public broadcaster has condemned the bomb attack on the home of the station's director and blamed it in part on the opposition Vetevendosje party - which denied any role.

Die Morina
RTK buiding after the attack | Photo: BIRN

Kosovo's public broadcaster, RTK, on Monday called the attack on the home of its director, Mentor Shala, an escalation of the violence, intimidation and application of terrorist methods to public broadcasters.

“We continue to believe that the hate speech used by different political forces, especially by Vetevendosje [the opposition Self-Determination Movement], presents a real danger and threat to the normal functioning of the public broadcaster, " the RTK statement said.

The explosion late on Sunday shocked Shala’s family and neighbours, although no injuries were reported.

The explosive device was thrown next to the Shala's home, the fourth one within only a month in the capital Pristina.

The opposition Vetevendosje party denied playing any part in the attack.

“Vetevendosje has no need for protection from such groups because bombs do not contribute to our cause," this party wrote in a statement.

Vetevendosje has often criticised the work of RTK, accusing it of supporting the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, and Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK.

At a press conference on August 26, Vetevendosje called RTK a “spokesperson” of the government. It also said RTK denied its leader, Visar Ymeri, permission to participate in a debate on the controversial demarcation agreement with Montenegro.

The border agreement has caused violent clashes in Kosovo, with some opposition and ruling party MPs claiming it deprives Kosovo of 8,000 hectares of land.

Daut Hoxha, spokesperson of the Kosovo Police, told BIRN on Monday that the investigation into the attack was ongoing.

This is the second attack against RTK within a week. Six days ago, another explosion caused by a hand grenade shook the main building of RTK.

The EU in Kosovo also said it was concerned by the attack. The EU mission said it was worried that "the cycle of violence in Kosovo becoming more and more serious.

"No disagreement over any issue can justify the use of a deadly weapon against anyone, much less children,” the EU said, and called on institutions and politicians from all parties to invest efforts into easing tensions.

The Kosovo Journalists Association, AGK, said the latest attacks against RTK should be a priority for the country's judicial bodies.

“Journalists are disappointed by the approach of institutions when it comes to investigations of cases that have journalists as their object," it said.

Blerim Burjani, a security analysist, said the situation remained fragile, calling recent events a sign that something unusual was going on in Kosovo.

Burjani said the events were a warning of future scenarios, adding: “The police must figure out who the perpetrators of these ugly acts are as soon as possible.”

Before the attacks which targeted RTK, an explosive device was thrown at the assembly building, on August 4.

Another explosive device was then found on August 9 on the roof of a house belonging to Murat Meha, head of the state commission for demarcation. Police said bomb experts rendered the device harmless.

So far no suspects have been arrested although police have interviewed several witnesses.

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