A shooting incident near Gracanica Lake, is it ethnically motivated?

Gračaničko jezero

What really happened yesterday at Gracanica Lake, near Badovac, in the village of Mramor, when, as it is suspected, a member of the Kosovo Police wounded two young men? So far, the Kosovo Police Inspectorate only confirmed that an investigation is underway into allegations that a police officer wounded two people. Kosovo media have not shared any additional details. A day later, information appeared from the Serbian side that two ethnic Albanians allegedly shot at a group of young Serb men and women, after which a police officer who was with them opened fire in self-defense.

Kosovo media reported yesterday that there was a shooting in the village of Mramor, near Lake Badovac, and that a police officer is suspected of wounding two people. Kosovo media referred to the confirmation of Bajram Fetahu of the Kosovo Police Inspectorate, as well as the police spokesman for the Pristina region, Agron Borovci. RTK reported that the victims were 23 and 28 years old men, without providing further details. In the meantime, the Kosovo Police Inspectorate issued a statement, revealing that an investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

Earlier today, RTS and the Kosovo online portal published the testimony of Marko Petkovic, a purported witness of this incident.

„They stopped a few meters away from us. A friend who was with us, a member of the Gorani community, who works in the police and speaks Albanian, approached them and asked them to leave the site because the situation was unpleasant. They moved from that spot and stopped not far from where our cars were parked and one of them opened fire at us. One of my friends cried out that we should get down to the ground and the roof of the car protected us from bullets. Our policeman friend returned fire when the attackers fled towards the village of Mramor,“ Petkovic testified.

Late last night, KoSSev was contacted by a claimed-to-be witness, who insisted on remaining anonymous, claiming that a group of young Serb men and women were attacked on ethnic grounds „simply because they listened to Serbian music.“ The same individual also stated the attackers had no way of knowing that a KP member was part of this group as he was wearing civilian clothes. Although expressing willingness to testify and provide details for our portal, this alleged witness insisted on remaining anonymous.

KoSSev failed to obtain official confirmation of these allegations by the time the news was published.

The Kosovo Office, however, reacted tonight, confirming that a group of young Serb men and women were attacked.

„The attack that took place on Gracanica Lake yesterday, when two Albanians fired several shots in the direction of a group of Serbian boys and girls, it is the most direct threat to the lives of Serb children. Their only sin was that they were on a field trip, hanging out by the lake,“ the Kosovo Office said in a statement.

In its statement, the Kosovo Office also stressed that „such situations evoke painful memories of terrible crimes of the past, in which innocent children died in Kosovo and Metohija.“

„Serbs in Gracanica are rightly outraged,“ this Office said, demanding that the attack on them be treated with the utmost care.

„The Kosovo Office persistently warns of an increasing number of ethnically motivated attacks against Serbs in the province, and it is high time that such warnings are taken most seriously,“ the Kosovo Office stressed.

They also called on „those international organizations whose mandate and responsibility is to guarantee security for Serbs in Kosovo, to deal with this attack on Serb youth, with the utmost care,” adding that it “must not go unpunished.“

The Kosovo Office says that preserving peace and stability is Belgrade’s top priority, and that „the fragile security situation must be maintained.“

They also had a message for Pristina: „You must not give impetus to Albanian extremists who want to create chaos on the ground, kill children and expel Serbs.“

Srpska Lista and the Mayor of Gracanica, Ljiljana Subaric, also condemned the incident.

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