By Fatmir Aliu
Four peacekeeping soldiers have been wounded in northern Kosovo after local Serbs hurled handmade bombs at troops.
KFOR spokesperson colonel Kai Gudenogh told Balkan Insight that four soldiers had been wounded at 2.10pm local time after “improvised bombs” had been thrown and detonated.
“It happened during the time [when] the Kosovo Serbs threw home made bombs at soldiers, which detonated and injured four. Three [soldiers were]lightly injured and one, [who sustained] main injuries, was air-lifted with medical helicopters,” Gudenogh told Balkan Insight.
Gudenogh added: “[The] last information I received, is that around 1000 Kosovo Serbs, are heading towards Jarinje, from Mitrovica to join the protesters.”
“What I can say is that we have reacted adequately, and that we will stay calm. But if they shoot with improvised bombs, we will respond with fire arms depending on the situation and how the crowd reacts. If someone shots, the soldiers have to respond adequately.”
Meanwhile, B92 reported that Milan Jakovljevic, the director of the Mitrovica hospital in northern Kosovo, said that seven people have been admitted in the hospital by 2pm local time.
This is the latest in a series of encounters between peacekeeping troops and local Serbs.
Local Serbs have been erecting barricades along roads to the region’s two border points with Serbia over the past week in a bid to stop a trade agreement, which allows exports to flow between Kosovo and Serbia, being implemented.
Under the agreement, the Kosovo authorities would have overall authority over the crossings but would be under the supervision of the EU rule-of-law mission, EULEX. Serbs in North Kosovo have broadly opposed both the customs agreement and, still more, the deployment of Kosovo customs officials on border crossings with Serbia.