Kosovo police release Serbs arrested on Tuesday morning

Kosovo police on Tuesday morning stormed two Serb villages in the Kosovo Pomoravlje District, near the town of Gnjilane, and arrested five Serbs.

Source: B92, Beta, Blic, RTS
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(EPA-EFE, file, illustration purposes)
(EPA-EFE, file, illustration purposes)

But Pristina-based newspaper Koha Ditore is reporting that the five men have been released "immediately after they were questioned."

Director of the Serbian Government's Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric held an unscheduled news conference upon hearing about the arrests, and warned Pristina that Belgrade would freeze the Kosovo dialogue unless the Serbs have been released by this evening.

According to a statement issued the Kosovo police earlier in the day, the arrest operation was conducted in several locations, while those detained engaged in "activities against the constitutional order and security of Kosovo."

The Kosovo police also "refuted some Serbian media/portals" who reported that the operation was aimed against former members of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) who recently left the formation - and described these reports as "merely speculation."

Belgrade-based media said that members of the special forces of the Kosovo police entered early this morning the premises of the Cultural and Educational Center Bozidar Mitrovic Sandor in the village of Silovo.

According to RTS, Serb sources in Pomoravlje said that the head of the Kosovo Pomoravlje District, Radovan Stojkovic, and the director of the National Employment Service in Gnjilane, Jovan Denic, have both been arrested. The daily Blic reported this as well.

According to the media, Nenad Stojanovic, a car mechanic employed by the Serbian Army in the town of Vranje, has also been detained.

The operation began early this morning when members of the special police blocked the houses of the district chief and the director of the Employment Service in Gornji Kusac, and began a search, eyewitness told an RTS journalist.

Apart from their houses, armed police also used SUVs to surround and then searc the offices of the Employment Service and the district chief, located in the Silovo.

According to RTV Plus, Stojanovic was arrested because he allegedly put pressure on Serb members of the KSF to leave the service. "This is retaliation because of all the KSF members from Gjilane who have left this service in the past ten days," a source from Kosovo told Blic.

Because of the developments in Kosovo on Tuesday, Director of the Serbian Government's Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric has called a press conference that will start at noon today.

Nearly thirty Serb members of the KSF, mostly from the Gnjilane area, last week submitted their collective resignations, i.e., terminated their contracts and demobilized.

What will happen to them remains unknown at this time, because their demands will be decided on in the next six months. Until then, Serbia has called on people not to join the KSF, as Albanians in fact want to transform this formaiton into an army, while Kosovo politicians have been talking about Serbia's pressure for some time now.

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