ISSN 2330-717X

Kosovo Police Investigate AKSH Links To Attacks

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By Fatmir Aliu

The Kosovo Police are searching for possible links between the arson attacks against two Kosovo Serb families and the phantom organization, the Albanian National Army, AKSH.

Two houses belonging to Kosovo Serbs in the village of Drenovce, north western Kosovo, were set on fire in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Last week, the same villagers found intimidating letters on their doorsteps, signed by the AKSH. The message stated “Serbs should leave Kosovo because they are not welcome.”

The Police Director for the Pec/Peja, Ahmet Hasi, told reporters on Wednesday that no evidence has yet been found to link the two incidents, but that the police are investigating.

“We are waiting for fire-fighters expertise, to determine the cause of arson. At the same time, we are also investigating the case of the [intimidating] letters, but I can’t really say that there’s a link between the two,” Hasi said.

The AKSH was labelled a terrorist organisation by the UN Mission to Kosovo, UNMIK, in 2003.

Members of the AKSH, have been seen in the territory periodically since the war ended in 1999, but after the declaration of Kosovo’s independence from Serbia in 2008, the shadowy armed group announced that it had ceased all its activities in Kosovo.

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Hasi rejected any claim that such “organized military groups” exist in his area of responsibility, in the Pec/Peja region.

The Kosovo government has condemned the incident in Drenovce.

Kosovo’s Minister of Returns and Communities, Radojica Tomic, echoing the sentiments of the locals, said that the incident was meant to intimidate the Kosovo Serbs from returning to their property.

“This is a bad signal for the returnees, but also for the Government of Kosovo and the international community. Everyone has the right to return to their house, and we will not allow such provocative acts to intimidate the returnees,” he said.

He visited Drenovce on Wednesday, where he announced that the government would not tolerate such acts.

The Kosovo Ministry of Interior has called upon the residents of Drenovce to help the investigation, and approach the police with information.

There are plans to rebuild 12 houses in the village, as part of the returns program for the internally displaced Kosovo Serbs. Seven families have benefited from the rebuilding program so far.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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