17 June 2012,
Two Serbs wounded in northern Kosovo
|A KFOR member is seen at Jagnjenica (Tanjug)
ZUBIN POTOK – Two people wounded by rubber bullets in the northern Kosovo village of Stuoce were taken to a health care center in Zubin Potok, treated and released, doctor Aleksandra Stoimenov told Tanjug.
They had been among the Serbs who gathered in Stuoce, on the regional road between Kosovska Mitrovica and Ribarice, after KFOR blocked roads leading to Zubin Potok early on Saturday. “Two people were brought to our facility. Both sustained minor injuries from rubber bullets,” Stoimenov told Tanjug.
One was shot in the forearm and the other in the thigh, she added.
A number of Serbs gathered in Stuoce after KFOR troops blocked the road in full anti-riot gear.
After the two Serbs were wounded, Italian KFOR troops warned the crowd over the loudspeaker not to come nearer than 70 meters.
Just before 9 am, sirens sounded in Zubin Potok.
Several armored vehicles and a cordon of Italian KFOR troops in anti-riot gear are standing at the road block mounted in front of the tunnel in Stuoce.
Early on Saturday, KFOR blocked the road passing near the village of Banja, which Serbs from Ibarski Kolasin had been using since last summer as an alternative to the official Brnjak checkpoint.
Meanwhile, on the same road in Zupce, KFOR started selectively letting through vehicles coming from southern Kosovska Mitrovica around 9 am.
At the Jagnjenica checkpoint, KFOR is still blocking the road leading to Zupce and rerouting traffic to the road leading to Zubin Potok.
KFOR said the objective of the operation, which began at 5:30 am, was to close the unofficial checkpoint.
Serbs and KFOR unblock road in northern Kosovo
Traffic resumed around noon Saturday on the regional road between Kosovska Mitrovica and Ribarice in northern Kosovo, after local Serbs dispersed and KFOR troops removed armored vehicles.
The Serbs from Ibarski Kolasin left the roadblock in the village of Stuoce after Zubin Potok Mayor Slavisa Ristic asked them to disperse.
The crowd, which had gathered after KFOR blocked the road early Saturday, headed in the direction of Zubin Potok.
Italian KFOR troops also withdrew in a convoy of some 15 armored vehicles.
Ristic said he was told that KFOR troops had no orders to close other roads in northern Kosovo, but that the road through the village of Banja had to be closed because it was too close to the Brnjak checkpoint. “The only thing we can do is fight peacefully and with determination,” Ristic said, adding he hoped that many would eventually realize that the Serbs in the north did not want to be integrated into so-called Kosovo institutions.
KFOR closes alternative road around Brnjak
The road through the village of Banja, which has served as an alternative to crossing the Brnjak checkpoint between northern Kosovo and central Serbia, is closed for traffic as of Saturday morning following a KFOR operation.
Barbed wire and concrete cones have been placed across the road, Tanjug’s correspondent reported from the scene.
The road, which Serbs have been using since last summer to travel between Ribarice and northern Kosovo, was closed Saturday morning when KFOR put up a sign saying “Stop, road closed.”
Two EULEX jeeps and a French KFOR vehicle stood parked at the roadblock around noon.
Ivanovic: KFOR operation raises tension in Kosovo
Oliver Ivanovic, a state secretary with the Serbian Ministry for Kosovo, has said that KFOR’s closing of the alternative road around the Brnjak checkpoint early on Saturday was unnecessary and raised tension in the northern part of the province.
He appealed to KFOR representatives to adjust their activities to the new situation and “wait for coming talks regarding northern Kosovo.”
“I think political solutions must be sought for the situation in the north, and northern Kosovo must be defined in a political and legal sense, but KFOR does not play a major role in this process,” said Ivanovic.
KFOR’s role must be reduced to ensuring the safety of all residents of Kosovo, above all Serbs, who are the only ethnic community truly at risk, said the state secretary.
Ministry urges KFOR not to use force
The Serbian Ministry for Kosovo appealed Saturday to all parties in the province to refrain from violence, urging KFOR not to use force and to strictly adhere to and act within the bounds of its mandate, and the Serbs to remains peaceful and not fall for provocations.
“All actors in the province must be aware of the fact the situation is highly flammable, which is why the Ministry for Kosovo is urging both KFOR and Serbs in the north to refrain from risky moves that could lead to unwanted consequences,” says the release.
Full Article: Tanjug. Tacno