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news 22 Mar 12

Mysterious Kosovar Force Vows to Quash Serb Polls

A little known formation calling itself the Albanian National Army has resurfaced and vowed to confront any Serbian-run elections held in Kosovo in May.

Fatmir Aliu Pristina

The Albanian National Army, ANA, a blacklisted organization in the US, has threatened to use force to stop Serbian polls from being held in Kosovo if the international community doesn’t prevent them.

The mysterious group, which seeks the unification of Kosovo with Albania, sent an email to Balkan Insight and other members of the press saying it had decided to reactivate its structures to protect Kosovo from another Serbian invasion.

“The headquarters of the Albanian National Army, at a meeting on March 17, has decided to reactivate all its military structures and confront with Serbia and its gangs in the Republic of Kosovo,” reads the message.

ANA, known in Albanian as AKSH ("Armata Kombëtare Shqiptare") has been blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the US.

Serbia announced last week that it was extending its local elections, due on May 6, to Kosovo.

This move was condemned by the Kosovo government and the international community as a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, which Belgrade does not recognize.

Uniformed ANA members have been seen periodically in Kosovo since the Kosovo conflict ended in 1999, and even filmed patrolling with arms. The group took responsibility for several bombing incidents in Kosovo since 1999.

AKSH/ANA said in its letter that it had ceased all activity when Kosovo declared independence in 2008, hoping that Kosovo would be left to progress by its northern neighbour.

“But for four years on [since independence], Serbia has not stopped its sabotage of the Republic of Kosovo,” the press release continues. “We ask you [the international community], before the war starts; intervene and prevent a Balkan war.” 

Kosovo police said that they were “aware of the information,” and were dealing with the issue.

Kosovo politicians have in the past dismissed ANA as a “phantom” organisation.

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