In Kosovo, there was an exchange of fire between police and armed men.

Visar Kryeziu/AP

Kosovo police officers secure a cross road in the village of Binzka on Sunday, September 24, 2023.


Kosovo police said on Sunday that they had killed three armed attackers and arrested one during an ongoing shootout in the northern Kosovo village of Binzka.

The ambush between the police and 30 armed men began hours after the incident in which one policeman was killed and another injured. Police said some of the shooting was taking place near a monastery in the village.

Police earlier said they had killed one attacker “in self-defence” and detained four suspects who were found in illegal possession of radios and suspected of links to organized crime groups. was

“According to official information from the field during the exchange of fire, two other attackers, who were masked, uniformed and armed with heavy weapons, and another uniformed gunman were confirmed dead,” Kosovo police said. The arrest of Aur has also been confirmed,” Kosovo police said. A statement on Facebook

In its latest statement, Kosovo police said the security situation in the area of ​​the village of Binzka remains tense as “firearm attacks against police units continue with the same intensity.”

Police added that they found “logistics equipment, suspected military vehicles, military uniforms as well as weapons and ammunition of various calibers” from the residence used by the attackers.

“Kosovo Police continues to call on criminal gangs to surrender to the authorities of justice and at the same time invites citizens to cooperate with law enforcement agencies, in order to calm the situation and In the interest of public security”.

The incident is a serious escalation in an already troubled region. Kosovo is majority Albanian, but like other villages in the north, Banjaka is predominantly Serbian.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Serbia views Kosovo as a separate state. Kosovo Serbs consider themselves part of Serbia and consider Belgrade their capital rather than Pristina.

“We see armed, uniformed people, heavy weapons, they are shooting at us, we are shooting,” said Veton Eljesani, Kosovo police deputy commander for the northern region, according to CNN affiliate N1.

According to N1, overnight Saturday to Sunday, the border police unit spotted two heavy trucks without license plates blocking the entrance to a bridge in Binzka. A police force was deployed in the area.

Kosovo Police/AP

Kosovo police and a group of armed, masked men stand outside the Banjaka monastery in northern Kosovo.

According to N1, when policemen arrived at the scene, they encountered resistance, shots were fired, and a policeman was killed and another injured during the exchange of fire. Kosovo police said they were shot with “a cache of firearms”, including grenades and stun guns.

In a post on Facebook early Sunday morning, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti called the shooting in the village of Banjaca a “terrorist attack” by what he said were “Serbian criminal gangs.”

CNN has reached out to the Serbian Foreign Ministry for comment on the incident.

In a statement on Sunday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell condemned the attack and called for de-escalation.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the horrific attack by an armed gang against Kosovo police officers in Banjaka/Banjak, north of Kosovo, in which one police officer was killed,” he said in a statement. said in a statement. “Criminals responsible must face justice”

More innocent lives are at risk in the ongoing fighting around Banzka Monastery. These attacks must stop immediately,” he added.

The EU mission in Kosovo, EULEX, “is on the ground and in close contact with the authorities and KFOR,” said Borel, the NATO-led international peacekeeping force in Kosovo.

“The European Union and its member states repeatedly call on all actors to work to de-escalate the situation in the north of Kosovo,” he said.

Tensions between Kosovo and Serbia have risen in recent months after violent protests erupted over disputed local elections in May. Dozens of NATO peacekeepers were injured in the clashes at that time.

Kosovo Serbs have demanded greater autonomy from the Albanian majority.

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