Police first deny that Serb was wounded at the Bistrica Bridge checkpoint, and then admitted its involvement, the US issues condemnation

Ilustracija/FOTO: KoSSev

An Ethnic Serb M.J, was wounded last night shortly before midnight on the Bistrica bridge, on the road between Leposavić and Mitrovica, when, while reportedly on his way back home to the village of Zerovnica. He has been treated at the hospital in North Mitrovica and is in stable condition.

Both locations are in the municipality of Zvecan. A Kosovo special police checkpoint has been on the bridge where the man was wounded since last December.

After initially denying its involvement in the incident, today the police confirmed that one policeman was „involved in an armed shooting.” Police reported he had not admitted it yesterday.

Police now say immediate suspension measures have been initiated against him and three others for their possible involvement in the shooting.

Today, the Kosovo Police informed the Police Inspectorate, as well as the competent Prosecutor’s Office.

„The Kosovo police continue to carry out their official duties in a fair and impartial manner, regardless of who is involved in the case and will not act differently under any circumstances,“ said the KP.

However, in the statement from the police, there are no precise details either about the circumstances of wounding M. J, nor confirmation that occurred on the Bistrica Bridge.

Confusion in public

Since last night there have been conflicting statements in the public about what happened, and as to who shot a local Serb and why.

On several Serbian social network pages, who first reported on the incident, the Kosovo police were immediately accused as the culprit, after which the Kosovo police responded to our portal’s inquiry just after midnight, denying its responsibility.

Moreover, they then claimed that were only informed that one person was wounded in the North of Kosovo in unclear circumstances, and that they „had nothing to do with it“, stressing that the Kosovo Police „at no place in the North of Kosovo was not involved either in shooting or exchange fire, including Bistrica Bridge“.

Prior to changing their statement today afternoon, it continued with conflicting statements that arrived today from the Serbian side, which directly pointed the finger at Pristina, i.e. „Kurti’s special forces“.

In the meantime, immediately after being wounded and medically treated, M.J. gave his version of events from his hospital for the Kosovo Online portal:

„Last night, after returning from Leposavic, down in Bistrica, where their (police) police base is, after passing through the checkpoint, I just heard a shot and felt a pain in my shoulder. I can’t be 100% sure who shot, but I don’t believe there is anyone else in that base apart from their army and police. I heard the crack of glass behind and in front; honestly, I was scared, I continued, and headed home. I reached the Saren Kamen and what happened next, where the car is, who brought me, I have no idea,“ he said.

Early this morning, the Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Petar Petković, as Kosovo Police denied their involvement, asked the Kosovo Minister of the Interior to show the video footage from the Bistrica Bridge, directly accusing the Kosovo Police of shooting a Serb.

Moreover, he stated that the Kosovo police have only two approaches towards the Serbs – either they criminalize them, or they deny that they were involved in the incidents.

Now, after the Police confirmed their involvement, Petković said again:

„The Kosovo police have just admitted that they shot the Serb, M. J, and showed that they LIED all day about the shot Serb, a family man, a father of three children who only survived by sheer luck. Now everyone can see that ROSU is directly responsible for this wounding.“

However, the confusion still reigns.

In the latest statement, the police did not provide details on the nature and circumstances of police officers’ involvement – under what circumstances and where the Serb was wounded. Also, in the statement, they characterized the act as „involvement in an armed shooting“.

Although it cannot be directly confirmed from that it is the same case on the Bistrica Bridge, there is no information so far that any other incident happened last night. However, in its last 24-hour report, the Kosovo Police reported an „attempted murder“ that took place last night at around 22:00 in the municipality of Leposavic, with reports that one person was treated at a hospital in North Mitrovica after being wounded by a firearm. The Bistrica Bridge was identified by the latest press release (among others) as being in the Leposavic municipality, while is in fact on the territory of the municipality of Zvecan.

American condemnation

In the meantime, arrives the first international condemnation.

„The U.S. is concerned about an incident in which a Kosovan Serb was shot in Zvecan/Zveqan last night. Kosovo Police officials and institutions must conduct a thorough, credible investigation. We are deeply concerned by the initial denial made without due diligence. All citizens must have confidence in the transparency of law enforcement and the justice sector. U.S. support for Kosovo’s rule of law institutions advances a shared vision of a democratic, multiethnic state. Those responsible for criminal actions must be held accountable“, the U.S. ambassador to Pristina Jeff Hovenier has just tweeted.

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