Kosovo media: „On the eve of water poisoning, suspicious Serbs visited Decani“; Kosovo Office: They are trying to accuse Serbs – a dangerous disinformation campaign

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„A similar disinformation campaign was used as an excuse and reason for a spiral of violence, which culminated in the March 2004 pogrom,“ reads the Kosovo Office reaction to Pristina media reports that two „suspicious“ Serbs were seen near the water supply well „on the eve of water poisoning in Decani.“ 

Hundreds of people in Decani fell ill earlier this week, arousing the suspicion of a possible water poisoning.

The Kosovo Institute of Public Health announced yesterday, however, that the analysis determined that the water in Decani was not contaminated.

Nonetheless, IndeksOnline published an article last night entitled: „Open well and two suspicious Serbs who visited Decani before the poisoning.“ The same news was later picked up by other media outlets reporting in Albanian.

Citing a statement of a restaurant owner in Decani, IndeksOnline reported that „two suspicious Serbs“ allegedly visited his restaurant, which is located 500 meters from the water supply well, back in late June.

The owner of this restaurant claimed that young ethnic Serbs came to his restaurant on June 27, in a car with Novi Sad license plates, and asked him for directions to the Visoki Decani monastery.

As IndeksOnline reports, the restaurant owner Mucaj notified the police about the visit of two young men, noting that they looked suspicious. He also forwarded the security camera recordings, in order to identify these two men, to the police.

In the same text, this media outlet writes that the water supply well, located near this restaurant, was visited yesterday by the Albanian Post crew, which determined that it was partially open and that the concrete cover was not latched.

IndeksOnline also writes that the director of the regional water supply system „Hidrodrini“, Agron Tigani, and the acting manager of the water supply of Decani, Petrit Januzaj, „categorically denied that the perpetrators could easily abuse those wells“.

Kosovo Office: They are trying to hold Serbs responsible for poisoning

The Kosovo Office reacted to the Pristina media reports today, stating that “there is a very dangerous and irresponsible disinformation campaign in the Albanian public at hand.” The office also alerted that Serbs, without a single piece of evidence, are being held responsible for water poisoning in Decani.

This morning, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, also commented on Pristina media reports. He said that Belgrade has an analysis of the movement of the two men, noting that they did not come closer than 500 feet to the water source.

„Many things are happening, from their threats to everything else. When it comes to what is happening in Decani, we are waiting and listening to what they will say,“ Vucic said.

„Placing false news can have far-reaching consequences for the already fragile security situation in Kosovo. It is happening at a time of an increased number of incidents against Serbs in the province, and they are thus additionally targeted, while the security of the monastery of Visoki Decani is furthermore endangered,“ the Kosovo Office said.

They announced that they will write a letter to all international missions operating in Kosovo, calling on them „to stop this irresponsible campaign of false news and protect Serbs in the province.“

This institution pointed out that the news of the poisoning in Decani was first accompanied by mutual accusations of Albanian parties on who was standing behind it, and that now „Serbs are being marked as targets“.

„That is why we appeal that the problem that arose is not used for politicization and stigmatization of Serbs,“ the Office states, adding that a similar false accusation was also presented in 2019 when Pristina claimed that ballots from central Serbia were poisoned, which proved to be untrue.

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