"Report of Albanians opening fire, no storming of villages"
A group of armed Kosovo Albanians opened fire several times in the area of the village of Rastelica in central Serbia, near the administrative line with Kosovo.Source: B92, Beta, Prva TV
The shooting happened near a container housing lumberjacks the previous night, Beta agency reported late on Wednesday, citing one of the workers, 47-year-old Milomir Stevanovic.
Stevanovic, who works for the company Sunce Trans, which is a contractor for Serbia's state-owned Srbijasume enterprise, was left alone in the container located about two kilometers from the administrative line with Kosovo, while the other workers went to the nearby town of Kursumlija to get supplies.
Stevanovic said that several burst of fire from automatic weapons were hear from a nearby hill, about 400 meters from the container.
"The shooting lasted about five minutes, I escaped into a forest on the opposite side, in order to get reception on my cell phone. I found it a few kilometers from the container and called the police and my colleagues," Stevanovic said.
At the same time, not far from the village of Rastelica, five households were broken into, with items of value stolen.
Local Milomir Erakovic (63) told Beta that the villagers live in fear, "and there is no life for them in that area."
The owners of all five houses stay in town during the winter, and live in the village during the rest of the year, where they farm land.
"No storming of villages"
The Serbian Ministry of Interior (MUP) issued a statement late on Wednesday, after media reports that armed Albanians had stormed Kursumlija-area villages.
As stated, the police station in Kursumlija received a report on Tuesday evening from workers in the area of the village of Rastelica that they had heard shooting "from the direction of the Autonomous Province (AP) of Kosovo and Metohija."
The police have not received any reports about armed groups entering central Serbia from the area of Kosovo and Metohija, but during regular patrols in the area of the village of Rastelica yesterday, the police saw that several houses had been burgled, a press release said on Wednesday.
"Considering that these are houses where nobody lives," it continued, "the police immediately informed the owners, determining afterwards that a hunting rifle, a chainsaw, and different tools had been stolen."
It is added that the police informed the prosecution about the incident, which ordered an investigation.