"Another method of intimidation of Serbs"

BELGRADE -- The Government Office for Kosovo has condemned the tearing down of a monument to Serbian poet Lazar Vučković, that happened in Kosovo.

The incident took place in Gornje Selo, a village in the south of the province, earlier this week.

The office late on Wednesday warned that the incident was "yet another method of intimidating Kosovo Serbs to keep them from returning to their homes."

"This is a more than clear message to Serbs that their return to the region of Sredačka Župa has not been met with approval," a statement from the office said.

"Knowing from experience that the Priština authorities will not do anything to find and punish the perpetrators of this act of vandalism, we demand that the international community react and protect Serbs in the province, their property, and the graves and monuments to their dearest ones," the statement said.

Tanjug quoted a Kosovo police spokesman in the Prizren region, Hazir Berisha, as saying that the investigation was complete and that there were no suspects in the case, but that "the motive for the theft of the bust could be the material it was made of."

The monument was torn down on January 7, Orthodox Christmas.

Not far from the site, in the village of Drajčići, the demolition of a more than a century-old Serbian school started just days ago, the Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija said.