news 23 Nov 12

Several Kosovo Serb Policemen Under Investigation

The regional police command in Mitrovica, northern Kosovo, has launched an investigation after eight Kosovo Serb policemen refused to intervene during the interethnic clashes in Kroi i Vitakut / Brdjani on Thursday.

Fatmir Aliu
BIRN
Mitrovica

The eight officers, all ethnic Serbs, disobeyed the order by their Kosovo Albanian superiors from the regional police command in Mitrovica to intervene and prevent the clashes between the two communities in the mixed neighbourhood Kroi i Vitakut / Brdjani in Serb-run northern Kosovo.

On Thursday, a group of Kosovo Serbs gathered at a building site where homes for Albanian returnees were being constructed and started throwing stones at the constructions workers.  One Kosovo Albanian was slightly injured by the rocks.

Besim Hoti, the police regional spokesperson, told BIRN on Friday that the investigation was launched immediately after Thursday’s incident.

“An investigation is under way for disrespecting the chain of command during yesterday’s  events,” Hoti said.

Serbs have regularly protested against the reconstruction of Albanian homes in the area of the north of Mitrovica, which is predominately inhabited by Serbs.

Tensions have been mounting in the northern Kosovo over the past week. The police have recorded several incidents, including an explosion, car burnings and exchanges of fire. No one was seriously injured.

A house belonging to a Kosovo Albanian was attacked on Wednesday morning in the settlement of Kroi i Vitakut, Brdjani in Serbian. Police said that they suspected that the bomb attack was designed to scare locals.

The work on building sites in Kroi i Vitakut / Brdjani has been interrupted after Thrusday’s incident.

Kosovo police spokesperson, Besim Hoti told BIRN that some construction companies have decided not to send their workers to the building sites, citing safety concerns.

Mitrovica’s Albanian Mayor, Avni Kastrati, has called on Thursday night for extra police presence in the area since the inhabitants are afraid that the situation might escalate.

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