November 10, 2011

Sava Mojsic killed in northern Kosovo

Source: AP One Serb was shot and killed two others were injured when gunfire erupted following a clash between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in the tense city of Mitrovica, police said Thursday. The two injured Serbs, one of them a policeman, are reported to be in serious condition. Police spokesman Besim Hoti said Sava Mojsic succumbed to his wounds early Thursday in a hospital in the Serb run part of the ethnically split town of Mitrovica after four hours of surgery.

Hospital officials said Mojsic was hurt in an eruption of gunfire preceded by a fight between ethnic Albanians and Serbs. Police are looking into details of what sparked the clash and who fired. Since August, Serb protesters have put up roadblocks to prevent Kosovo authorities from sending customs and police officials on disputed border crossings with Serbia. Many Serbs who live in Kosovo's north reject the country's 2008 secession from Serbia.

Hoti said police, backed by European Union special police units, are raiding ethnic Albanian and Serb houses in the area in search of suspects and evidence. No arrests were made. Mitrovica has been a flashpoint of ethnic tensions ever since the end of war in Kosovo in 1999.

The incident comes amid months of mounting tensions over the future of Kosovo's disputed north where Serbs are a majority and want the territory to be part of Serbia, but Kosovo authorities want to keep it under control. Kosovo's government condemned the attack and urged for calm on both sides amid growing worries the situation could escalate. EU police were called in to support local forces in keeping the two sides apart. Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga called the incident a "intolerable and unacceptable act that undermines peace and stability in the country."

Serbia's top Kosovo official, Goran Bogdanovic told Serbia's state-run news agency Tanjug the incident was "a terrorist attack." Earlier on Wednesday, NATO-led troops in Kosovo fired tear gas to stop two trucks trying to drive into a checkpoint manned by peacekeepers and European Union police at Kosovo's northern border with Serbia. The military alliance said the incident happened as their troops dismantled a Serb barricade and set up a control point on a road used to bypass the official crossing. It said the use of tear gas was "short, isolated and justified."

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