Gendarmes attacked by Albanian timber thieves

The Serbian police (MUP) Gendarmes exchanged fire with armed ethnic Albanian timber thieves in the area of the village of Borovac.

Source: Beta, Tanjug

The village is located near the town of Kuršumlija, and near the administrative line between Kosovo and central Serbia.

"A group of Albanians attacked, with automatic weapons, a Gendarmerie patrol, on the territory of Serbia, in the region of the Kuršumlija village of Borovac. There were no consequences for the members of the Gendarmerie, while information of the Kosovo Police Service shows that six persons of Albanian nationality were injured," said Gendarmerie commander Bratislav Dikić.

In a statement for Tanjug, Dikić specified that the police officers came under fire from two directions at around 19:00 CET on Sunday, and that "multiple persons" carried out the attack. According to this, the Gendarmes "responded adequately" and were not harmed.

Dikić further said that a tractor loaded with timber was found at the scene, along with two chainsaws and items of personal clothing, and that EULEX and KFOR liaison officers were informed about the incident.

Last night, the commander also said that the Gendarmes were "undertaking measures and activities to ensure safety of the citizens in the area," and that they had been looking for the attackers who were wounded. If found, he said, they would receive medical treatment.

Meanwhile, the Kosovo police, KPS, confirmed that the incident took place but offered no other details, while the Albanian language daily Express, published in Priština, said that four persons were hospitalized.

Unofficial information and statements from the locals said that an armed group of Albanians crossed the administrative boundary and attempted to illegally cut trees. They then attacked the Gendarmerie patrol that was nearby.

Local official in Merdare Časlav Milošević told Beta the shooting lasted for half an hour, and added:

"There was shooting like there was a war. From multiple kinds of weapons. Beside individual shots, there were also bursts of fire. The local villagers are very upset and frightened."

Reports also said that this was "the third armed incident in the village in the past ten days."

Last night, journalists were not allowed access to Borovac for safety reasons.

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