Kosovska Mitrovica, 27 Sept 2011: The clearing of a road block on the road to the Jarinje border crossing led to a violent encounter between KFOR soldiers and local Serbs in northern Kosovo.
Yesterday U.S. soldiers cleared a barricade, consisting of a heap of gravel on the road to the Jarinje border crossing, 50 kilometers north im Kosovska Mitrovica, and at the same time KFOR blocked an illegal border crossing, that allowed locals to get around the official crossing points.
During the clearing of the road block a skirmish ensued, that resulted in four wounded KFOR soldiers, after a home-made explosive device detonated in their ranks. Seven local Serbs were also injured.
While respectable media like Germany’s Die Zeit and France’s Le Monde published short articles today, firmly placing the blame for the renewed unrest with the local Serb population, the social media service Twitter is buzzing with unconfirmed rumors, hateful accusations and simply ridiculous posts.
According to the affiliation of the many authors, it was always the other side that “wants to kill Serbs/Albanians” while the own people are characterized as innocent bystanders, just getting showered with tear gas grenades and rubber bullets from the guns of Rambo-style KFOR troopers, while having their leisurely Sunday stroll. Not to forget the ambulance that was “full of bullet holes” after the KFOR had nothing better to do than to shoot at it.
Of course none of this is of any help to calm down the situation and to arrive at a peaceful solution. Local media and politicians alike are to blame for pouring oil into the fire instead of trying to defuse this explosive situation.
The tensions of the past two weeks are the result of an attempt by the Kosovo government to restore control over two border crossings between the Serb-populated northern part of Kosovo and Serbia itself.