Mon, 11 Dec 2023

Kosovo Observes Day of Mourning After Monastery Siege

Voice of America
25 Sep 2023, 23:06 GMT+10

Kosovo was observing a day of mourning Monday, following the death of a Kosovar Albanian police officer killed by Serbian gunmen, who then barricaded themselves at an Orthodox monastery north of the capital, Pristina.

It was not immediately clear who supports the approximately 30 gunmen who were dressed in combat uniforms when they used an armored vehicle to storm the monastery in Banjska and engage in a standoff Sunday with Kosovo police.

Most of the gunmen were able to escape the monastery Sunday evening, but at least three of them were killed and two arrested.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurti each blamed the other for the clash.

The U.S. ambassador in Pristina condemned what he called the "orchestrated, violent attacks" on the Kosovo police. In a statement, Jeffrey Hovenier said, "The perpetrators must and will be held accountable and brought to justice."

Separately, Caroline Ziadeh, the head of UNMIK, the U.N. Mission in Kosovo, called for the perpetrators "to be held accountable." Ziadeh made her comments on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Serbia and Kosovo, its former province, have clashed for decades. A 1998-1999 war between them left more than 10,000 people dead, mostly Kosovo Albanians.

Meanwhile, in Russia, a Kremlin spokesman said it was monitoring what he called the tense and potentially dangerous situation in Kosovo.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008, but Belgrade has refused to recognize the move. Russia has stood by Serbia's non-recognition of Kosovo.

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