MKG Removes References to KFOR Negotiations with Armed Serbian Group from April Report

FOTO: KoSSev

The International Crisis Group (ICG) removed information from their April report suggesting that KFOR negotiated the withdrawal of an armed Serbian group from Banjska. However, the sentence stating that KFOR, „early on 24 September, KFOR peacekeepers detected unusual movements near Banjska, a village in the Zvečan municipality, and alerted the Kosovo police“ remains.

One of the main headlines in Kosovo these days revolves around KFOR, following the emergence, for the second time in publicly available written documents, of the claim that KFOR allegedly negotiated the withdrawal of a Serbian armed group from the village of Banjska during the attack, followed by fire back in September last year.

Furthermore, this concerns a preliminary draft report from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s Defence and Security Commission, presented this weekend in Sofia, as well as the report from the International Crisis Group from April, which is specifically referenced in this draft.

The report was addressed by former British Defence Secretary Lord Mark Lancaster, who is the rapporteur for the Western Balkans.

KFOR strongly denied these claims, including to our portal.

„That is not true, at no point was KFOR involved in alleged negotiations,“ they stated on Sunday.

KFOR denies that they negotiated the withdrawal of Banjska attackers

The claim was also allegedly denied by Milan Radoičić’s lawyer – Goran Petronijević, as reported by several Belgrade media outlets.

The latest development in the midst of this nearly brewing controversy arrives today.

Group withdrew into surrounding woods and melted away

The influential International Crisis Group has amended its report released in April. They noted at the very end of the report, that they „wrongly stated that KFOR personnel negotiated the Serb armed group’s withdrawal from the standoff at Banjska,“ and that they have „updated“ the report today – May 28th.

KoSSev has verified the mentioned report, and indeed, the sentence from the original edition is missing: „In fear of bloodshed, KFOR negotiated the withdrawal of the group into the surrounding woods…“, with an asterisk placed in that section.

In the updated version, it now states: „Leaving their heavy weapons behind, the group withdrew into the surrounding woods, from which they melted away.“

However, the claim remains in the following text: „Early on 24 September, KFOR peacekeepers detected unusual movements near Banjska, a village in the Zvečan municipality, and alerted the Kosovo police.“

„A patrol car found trucks barring the road and came under attack. One officer was killed by an improvised explosive device and others were wounded. Reinforcements found about 30 heavily armed Serb fighters (assumed to be primarily or perhaps exclusively from northern Kosovo) who had broken into a medieval monastery near the village. In the firefight, at least three Serbs died. A tense standoff ensued between the group and Kosovo special police surrounding them. EULEX was also present at the scene. Leaving their heavy weapons behind, the group withdrew into the surrounding woods, from which they melted away.* Kosovo believes that up to 200 more fighters were hidden at the time in the thick forest between Banjska and the Serbian border“.



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