New shooting near Serb returnee camp
There has been a new armed incident near a tent camp set up by Serb IDPs who returned to their homes in the village of Zac in Kosovo. "This is a textbook act of terrorism and the very fact that it has repeated twice, while there was no efficient action on the part of police, must worry everyone," Serbian Ministry for Kosovo State Secretary Oliver Ivanovic said.
(KosovoCompromise Staff) Thursday, May 20, 2010
They say that on Wednesday, around 21:45 CET, fire was opened from an automatic weapon.
"Police were at the entrance to the camp, but obviously, nobody minded," said one returnee who wished to remain anonymous.
This is the second such incident in the past ten days that occurred close to the camp that is now home to 22 returnees. No one was hurt in either shooting.
The returnees also said that there were visible bullet traces on one of their houses nearby.
Kosovo police, KPS, said that they searched the area, but could not find out who the shooter was.
Ever since the Serbs returned to their homes after a decade in exile earlier this year, they faced protests, and stoning incidents, organized by local ethnic Albanians, who claim that war criminals were among them.
But returnees reject those claims, saying that in case any of them had committed crimes, they would not have returned to their property.
The returnees went back to the village on their own, but UNHCR provided them with tents pending repair works on their destroyed houses.
Serbian Ministry for Kosovo State Secretary Oliver Ivanovic described the shooting as an act of terrorism, and called on the EU mission in the province, EULEX, "to act at last".
"This is a textbook act of terrorism and the very fact that it has repeated twice, while there was no efficient action on the part of police, must worry everyone. EULEX must get involved and start doing its job at last," he told FoNet news agency in Belgrade on Thursday.
Ivanovic explained that EULEX stood back "expecting that local police can handle it".
"I spoke to KFOR too. They too ought to start an investigation, because their members were involved in the previous incident. Slovenian contingent soldiers were in the tent when the shooting occurred," said he.
Ivanovic warned that the returnees in the village of Zac, who now live in tents next to their destroyed homes, came under attack late on Wednesday despite the fact that a Kosovo police, KPS, patrol was deployed there 24 hours a day.
"One wonders how that's possible? If Kosovo police are not providing protection and safety for Serbs, if they did not discover the perpetrators of the previous attack, then it's quite justified to ask whether they have been, through their inaction, protecting the assailants," Ivanovic was quoted as saying.
The state secretary added that with all the incidents, "there can certainly be no return of Serbs to speak of", and once again rejected claims by ethnic Albanians that war criminals were among those who earlier this year decided to return to their homes in Zac.