A number of Kosovo Serbs in the country’s north town of Mitrovica have attacked the police during an operation against illegal smuggling, resulting in six police officers injured.
On Wednesday, Kosovo police launched an anti-smuggling operation throughout the country. In northern Mitrovica, a town inhabited by a Serb majority, they were attacked with guns and bombs, the police announced.
A number of Kosovo Serbs from the area burned two cars and blocked one of the main roads in the city, according to media reports. At least one of the cars was of the customs office.
Five of the injured police officers are of Albanian ethnicity, one is a Serb.
Three people were arrested during the operation: one of Albanian ethnicity, one Bosniak and one Serb.
Police said the operation was successful, with smuggled goods seized in a number of cities, mostly in Prishtina, Peja and Mitrovica.
The Serbian government condemned the anti-smuggling operation as a provocation against Serbia. Prime Minister Ana Brnabic called on the international community to stop Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s “deranged policy”.
Petar Petkovic, a senior government official, assured Kosovo Serbs that “Serbia and President Aleksandar Vucic are behind them.”
Kurti explained that the anti-smuggling operation was carried out in close collaboration between the prosecution office and the police.
He called on Kosovo Serbs not to fall for the disinformation published by some media in Serbian language that protect crime, corruption and smuggling, and try to make the situation seem a political and ethnic conflict.
Today’s attacks against the police come only a few days after Kosovo Serbs blocked the roads leading to border checkpoints when the Kosovo government imposed the same tax as Serbia on cars entering the country.