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4 Dead in Kosovo and Serbia Row Over Monastery Gun Battle

In ongoing news, Kosovo and Serbia have ended up entangled in a dangerous standoff following a deadly conflict at a Serbian Orthodox monastery in Banjska village, northern Kosovo. The incident has brought about critical casualties, including the death of one policeman and three gunmen.

Kosovo and Serbia Row Over Monastery Gun Battle

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This disturbing heightening in brutality has started worldwide concern and judgment, with the two sides exchanging allegations and pointing fingers at one another for the grievous situation that developed.

Kosovo, a region with a complicated history, proclaimed its freedom from Serbia in 2008. However, Serbia, upheld by key allies China and Russia, doesn’t perceive Kosovo’s power.

This longstanding debate has been a source of tension in the region for a really long time, with well established ethnic and political divisions further fueling what is going on.

The events prompting the dangerous standoff started at roughly 03:00 local time when police showed up in Banjska, responding to reports of around 30 heavily armed gunmen who had barricaded themselves in the Serbian Orthodox monastery near the Serbian border.

What followed was a fierce conflict between the shooters and the police, bringing about the loss of lives on both sides.

The police launched what was described as a “clearance operation,” leading to the deaths of three gunmen. During the operation, six people were arrested, and a critical cache of weapons was seized. It stays muddled whether those detained were directly involved in the attack.

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The incident started with the killing of police officer before the occupation of the monastery, underscoring the gravity of the situation.

The Serbian Orthodox Church confirmed that the shooters had at first taken cover in the monastery but later left under unclear circumstances. In the repercussions of the brutal conflict, both Kosovo and Serbia exchanged allegations and fault.

Kosovo’s prime minister Albin Kurti blamed Serbia for supporting the armed group, describing the attackers as “Serbia-sponsored criminals” with military and police backgrounds who were financed and motivated by Belgrade.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, on the other hand, shifted responsibility onto Kurti, accusing him of provoking tensions for months. Vucic likewise communicated disappointment with Kurti’s alleged desire to drag Serbia into a conflict with NATO.

He argued that less lives would have been lost if NATO-led KFOR peacekeepers had intervened. The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, condemned the “hideous attack” and called for those responsible to be brought to justice.

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However, Foreign Minister, Donika Gervalla-Schwarz, criticized Borrell’s statement for not explicitly supporting the police and for not using the term “terrorists” to describe the attackers.

The United Nations (UN) and NATO have communicated their interests and are intently checking what is going on. NATO has kept a peacekeeping presence in Kosovo, and this incident has brought up issues about the security and strength of the district.

The recent escalation follows a very long time of mounting pressures, with disputed local elections in May serving as a catalyst.

Albanian mayors were installed in majority-ethnic Serb areas after local Serb residents boycotted the polls. This move prompted fierce conflicts and distress in the northern town of Zvecan, resulting in injuries to both Nato peacekeepers and Serb protesters.

Furthermore, the failure to establish the association of Serb-majority municipalities, which would grant them greater autonomy, has been a sticking point in negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia. The EU-mediated talks have stalled, with Kurti and Vucic blaming each other for the lack of progress.

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