By Fatmir Aliu
A fist fight that escalated into a shooting spree on Wednesday night claimed the life of a Serb man in the tense northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica, scene of frequent showdowns between Serbs and Albanians.
One Kosovo Serb has died and two others were wounded following an inter-ethnic shootout in the tense northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica on Wednesday night.
Kosovo police said the shootings started in the mixed Brdjani (Vitaku) neighbourhood of northern Mitrovica where Serbs and Albanians live in close proximity.
“We were first called to intervene in stopping a fist fight and stone-throwing between the two sides,” Kosovo’s Police spokesperson, Besim Hoti, told Balkan Insight.
“Police went on patrol but when they got to the middle of the crowd, someone shot from an automatic weapon, injuring three persons, two civilians and a police officer. One civilian later succumbed to his wounds.”
The deceased Serb was named as Savo Mojsic. Doctors say he was brought to hospital in northern Mitrovica in a critical condition, and surgeons fought for his life but could not save him. The two other injured men are not in danger.
Kosovo Albanian and Serbian media have given different versions of which side was to blame for starting the conflict.
But local Serbs in Brdjani insist that the gun shots were fired from the Albanian side of the neighbourhood.
Police meanwhile are investigating who started the fist fight, which then escalated into a deadly showdown.
No one has yet been arrested though police raided several houses in the neighbourhood in searches for weapons overnight.
Kosovo’s government has condemned the incident and called for calm in the tense northern part of the country, which has been a flashpoint of tensions between Serbs and Albanians since the end of the conflict in 1999.
The Serbian government called for an international investigation into the incident.