Fighting on Kosovo-Serbian Border – Shots Fired and Customs Building Torched

Masked and armed ethnic Serbs attacked the Jarinje border crossing between Serbia and Kosovo last night. According to unconfirmed reports, shots have been fired at KFOR troops stationed at the crossing

Units of Kosovo special police left two disputed border crossings in northern Kosovo early on 27 July morning, but local Serbs, which oppose Pristina authorities, have rejected the decision that Kosovo border and custom police officers remain in the border crossing points. As a result a group of masked and armed Kosovo Serbs attacked the Jarinje border crossing yesterday evening, demolished the customs building  and set it on fire.

Witnesses say, that shots were fired near the crossing.  This information is still unconfirmed by the KFOR. Additionally, unidentified militants have fired shots at two KFOR helicopters in northern Kosovo. KFOR Commander Major General Erhard Bühler, who was on the scene of the skirmish during the night, called on Serbs to remain calm.

The attack has followed raising tensions after Kosovo had blocked its borders with Serbia for Serbian traffic last week and Kosovo leader Hashim Thaci dispatched special police to take control of the two disputed border crossings.

Kosovo Serb leaders have declared a state of emergency in the area and have called all citizens to be aware of any developments that might occur in the hours to come. Roads to the disputed crossings remained barricaded by local Serbs.

MG Bühler has ordered the KFOR Tactical Reserve Maneuver Batallion to be ready for intervention if the situation worsens.

In an attempt to stabilize the situation all parties have agreed that KFOR will take control of the Jarinje border crossing while the Kosovo police will remain in charge at the Brnjak crossing, south of Novi Pazar (Serbia).

(Sources: TanJug, Reuters, Middle East & Balkans News own research; 28 July 2011)


About Johann Brandstätter

Photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Bulgaria, working mainly in the Balkans and the Middle East. Conflicts & crises, social and environmental issues, defense & military, travel, transportation.
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