October 26, 2021
Kosovo police clash with ethnic Serbs during smuggling raids

Kosovo police clash with ethnic Serbs during smuggling raids

PRISTINA, Kosovo — Kosovo police have clashed with ethnic Serbs within the north during an operation in opposition to the smuggling of products, police and native media reported Wednesday.

A police assertion mentioned that raids had been held in 4 areas, together with northern Mitrovica which is usually populated by ethnic Serbs.

Video footage confirmed police firing tear fuel as Serbs hurled stones and different objects at officers. Serbs additionally blocked the primary highway with vehicles, the identical as final month during a tense scenario to do with a spat over car license plates.

The Kosovar Indexonline information web site reported accidents and photographs fired, which could not be independently verified or instantly confirmed with police.

Serbian media reported an “extremely tense” scenario within the Serb-populated northern a part of Mitrovica after Kosovo police raided a pharmacy and a few outlets in an obvious motion to cease the smuggling of products.

Kosovo, a Serbian province earlier than it declared independence in 2008, was in a conflict in 1998-1999 between Serbian troops and ethnic Albanian separatists combating for independence till a NATO air marketing campaign pushed Serb forces away.

Kosovo-Serbia ties stay tense regardless of a European Union-facilitated dialogue over the previous decade to normalize them.

Final month, Kosovo’s authorities deployed particular police forces to the border crossings to impose a brand new rule of eradicating Serb license plates from vehicles coming into the nation, saying {that a} 10-year-old deal had expired. Kosovo’s authorities mentioned it was responding tit for tat to what Serbia had accomplished for the previous decade.

Protesting the brand new Kosovo rule, Kosovo Serbs blocked the border with vehicles, and folks may solely cross on foot. Serbian navy jets and helicopters have been flying near the border with Kosovo in an obvious present of pressure.

The tensions got here to an finish solely after bilateral negotiations had been held beneath the auspices of a EU envoy and a U.S. senior official and NATO-led KFOR troops took management of the border areas.

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