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Monday, December 4, 2023

Kosovo’s premier claims a Serbian prison gang with authorities hyperlinks was behind a September flareup

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PRISTINA, Kosovo — Kosovo’s prime minister on Monday claimed {that a} prison gang from northern Serbia was behind a September assault in Kosovo that killed a police officer and concerned a daylong gunbattle with Kosovo police that left three gunmen {dead}.

Prime Minister Albin Kurti additionally alleged that Serbia’s Protection Minister Milos Vucevic heads the gang referred to as the “Novi Unhappy Clan,” named after the Serbian metropolis of Novi Unhappy, and additional claimed that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic had hyperlinks to the gang.

Kurti supplied no proof to again his claims and didn’t elaborate. He described the gang as a “paramilitary terrorist group.”

Belgrade swiftly dismissed the claims. Serbia’s Protection Ministry mentioned it “completely rejects the heinous and blatant lies instructed immediately by Kurti” and appealed to the worldwide neighborhood to behave to cease the “incendiary and soiled” marketing campaign by Kosovo’s management.

Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo flared anew on Sept. 24 when some 30 closely armed Serbs barricaded themselves in an Orthodox monastery in northern Kosovo, setting off the combating.

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The clashes have been among the many worst since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. It got here because the European Union and america have been attempting to mediate and finalize years-long talks on normalizing ties between the 2 Balkan states.

On his Facebook web page, Kurti on Monday proposed that the European Union and america “create a particular court docket” for the Novi Unhappy gang since Kosovo has no jurisdiction inside Serbia.

Kosovo has accused Serbia of orchestrating the Sept. 24 “act of aggression” in opposition to its former province whose 2008 declaration of independence Belgrade doesn’t acknowledge.

Serbia has denied this, and mentioned it suspected an ethnic Serb chief from Kosovo, Milan Radoicic, within the clashes. Radoicic was briefly detained, questioned and launched in Serbia earlier this month.

On Saturday, EU and U.S. envoys visited Kosovo and Serbia, urging the perimeters to renew dialogue on normalizing relations earlier than the bitter tensions lead to extra violence.

The EU put ahead a 10-point plan in February to finish months of political crises between the 2 sides. Kurti and Vucic gave their approval on the time however expressed reservations, which haven’t been resolved since. It’s unclear when one other spherical of conferences would possibly happen, and the EU seems to have little leverage left.

Kosovo has referred to as on the EU to sanction Serbia for the September flareup and demanded extra safety.

NATO despatched reinforcements to its Kosovo drive or KFOR, boosting the 4,500 troops on the bottom with an extra 200 troops from the United Kingdom and greater than 100 from Romania. It additionally despatched heavier armaments to beef up the peacekeepers’ fight energy.

Serbia and its former province of Kosovo have been at odds for many years. Their 1998-99 struggle left greater than 10,000 folks {dead}, principally Kosovo Albanians.


Semini reported from Tirana, Albania. Related Press author Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia, contributed to this report.

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