24 January 2007

Blast damages Serb school in Kosovo

Explosion in Serb school in Veliko Ropotovo, no one hurt

KOSOVSKA KAMENICA, November 21, 2006 (Beta news agency, Belgrade)

An explosion occurred this morning at about 8:00 a.m. in a classroom at the Trajko Peric Elementary School in the village of Veliko Ropotovo near Kosovska Kamenica but none of the pupils or teachers were hurt.

The head of school administration for the Kosovsko Pomoravlje region Zivorad Tomic told Beta news agency that, according to some reports, an explosive device was thrown into the stove in a fifth grade classroom.

"At the time of the explosion none of the students was in the classroom. They were in an adjoining classroom because their teacher was absent for his patron saint's day, and consequently a tragedy was avoided," said Tomic.

The explosion completely demolished the classroom and was so strong that the door was blown out of its frame, said Tomic.

He said that an investigation by members of UNMIK police is in progress.

Classes in the school have been cancelled for the day and will not resume until every corner has been checked and it is established that the school is now safe.

The elementary school building also houses extension sections of the general secondary school and the technical secondary school from Kosovska Kamenica. A total of 450 students of Serb nationality attend classes there in two sessions.

The preschool center "Pcelica Maja" located close to the school has also been closed, said Tomic.

He added that all appropriate officials of Serbia have been notified of the explosion.


Police: School explosion probably caused by a hand grenade

KOSOVSKA KAMENICA, November 21, 2006 (Beta news agency, Belgrade)

Kosovo Police Service spokesman Veton Elsani said today that on the basis of collected evidence it is suspected that the explosion in the school in Veliko Ropotovo near Kosovska Kamenica was caused by a hand grenade thrown into a stove in a fifth grade classroom.

An investigation is in progress and on the basis of collected information it is suspected that the explosive device thrown into the stove was a hand grenade, Elsani said in a statement for Beta news agency.

None of the students or teachers was hurt in the explosion that occurred this morning at 7:50 a.m. in the Trajko Peric Elementary School, representatives of the KPS confirmed, adding that the explosion destroyed the heating stove and damaged a part of the classroom wall.
Police have taken statements from three school employees, said Elsani.

The Trajko Peric Elementary School building also houses extension sections of the general secondary school and the technical secondary school from Kosovska Kamenica. A total of 450 students of Serb nationality attend classes there in two sessions.

Before the explosion occurred students were transferred from that classroom to another because their teacher was absent because of his patron saint's day.

Classes in the school begin at 7:30 a.m. and assistant employees came to work at 6:30 a.m.


School bus transporting Serb and Roma children stoned

OBILIC, November 20, 2006 (Beta news agency, Belgrade)

A group of Albanians stoned a school bus transporting Serb and Roma children in the center of Obilic today, the Coordinating Center has advised.

According to a written statement, none of the students from Crkvene Vodice and Obilic taking the bus to school in Plemetina was hurt. The thrown stones made dents in the bus.

Since a wave of Albanian violence on March 17, 2004, there are no more Serbs living in Obilic.

Obilic municipal coordinator Mirce Jakovljevic said that the attack on the bus is proof that the portrait of the alleged security the Kosovo government and members of the international community wish to show is false.

"The stoning of a bus with Serb children in front of the Obilic Municipal Assembly building shows that standards have not been met and that Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija do not have freedom of movement," said Jakovljevic in a statement for the Coordinating Center's International Press Center.


Humanitarian Disaster Threatens Kosovo Serb Enclaves

Brussels, 21 Nov (Tanjug)

Deputy President of the Coordination Centre for Kosovo-Metohija and head of the Economic Team for Kosovo and southern Serbia Nenad Popovic told EU officials in Brussels on Tuesday that humanitarian disaster threatened Kosovo Serb enclaves if power cuts continued during the winter and unless Serbian government's assistance of 50 million kW of electricity per month were not accepted.

The situation in Kosovo is dramatic because humanitarian disaster is threatening in view of the fact that Serbs in enclaves do not have electricity several hours per day, which is not normal for the 21st century and is a human rights violation, Popovic said after a meeting with EU special envoy to negotiations on Kosovo Stefan Lehne.

''We insisted the most on the Serbian government's humanitarian assistance, based on the letter which Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has sent to Javier Solana,'' on the assistance of 50 million kW per month for mostly Serb-populated settlements, Popovic said. He voiced hope that UNMIK and authorities in Pristina would take this offer.

''Unless this is done soon, humanitarian disaster may occur,'' Popovic sand and added that ''discrimination against Albanians is out of the question, because they will use this assistance too.''

Popovic informed his interlocutors in Brussels about nine Serbian government initiatives for Kosovo-Metohija - primarily in the electric power, trade, transport and telecommunications sectors. ''All interlocutors generally received all ideas positively,'' Popovic said and added that he had insisted that all initiatives be in keeping with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and to be coordinated with UNMIK.

He said that the Economic Team would arrive in Brussels again in late December and present a long-term strategy for the economic development of Kosovo-Metohija.

Popovic warned his EU interlocutors that ''independent Kosovo would be not economically viable.''

''This would be an economic disaster and would result in major instability throughout the region in the long run,'' he said.

''From the economic point of view, essential autonomy for Kosovo would be the optimum solution and would offer a possibility for the attraction of foreign direct investments,'' Popovic said.

He also met in Brussels on Tuesday with head of the European Commission's West Balkans Directorate Theresa Sobieski and head of the delegation for South-East Europe at the European Parliament Doris Pack.

Popovic will on Wednesday meet with European Commissioner for Energy Andris Piebalgs.


Kosovo Serbs: Humanitarian Catastrophe

Kosovska Mitrovica, 19 Nov (B92)

Kosovo Serb representatives Marko Jakšić and Milan Ivanović say there is a "humanitarian catastrophe" in Kosovo today.

In a press conference called in reaction to power cuts that lasted for hours and to what he called vandalism toward Telekom’s equipment in Kosovo, Jakšić said that UNMIK chief Joachim Ruecker was acting like "a Kosovo government member, rather than a high UNMIK official".

"He [Rucker] is one of those who authored the looting privatization and the economic discrimination against Serbs and Serb-owned companies, and is charged with driving everything that even reminds of Serbs and the Serb state away from Kosovo", Jakšić said.

In his words, "out of 190 privatized companies in Kosovo not a single one is owned by a Serb, which means that the property belonging to one nation is taken and given to another".

Jakšić said that beside the physical violence and persecution that the Serbs suffer at the hands of the Albanians, UNMIK is undertaking "torture on the economic level", and called on Rucker to "stop jeopardizing Serb interests making the lives of Serbs impossible."

Serb National Council (SNV) president Milan Ivanović said that the situation in the province has deteriorated and dubbed it a humanitarian catastrophe.

Ivanović said the Montenegrin opposition leaders would be visiting Kosovo on Monday, as well as that he expected them to, after being acquainted with the situation in Kosovo, "support the only just solution, Kosovo’s future as a part of Serbia".

Goran Bogdanovic, member of the Serbian negotiation team, remarked UNMIK representatives that in the past seven years they have failed to provide return for the dispersed and freedom of movement for the ones that remained in the province.

In economical sense UNMIK failed to equally distribute funds it received from the international community, so great majority of the money went to places inhabited by Kosovo Albanian majority, said Bogdanovic.

He also said UNMIK failed to crack down crime and corruption, at the same time pointing out that there are people in side UNMIK who are susceptible to corruption.

Oliver Ivanovic, president of the Serbian List for Kosovo and Metohija, stated that in its first phase UNMIK attempted to present Bosnian recipe in Kosovo, but failed it this. Second phase was between 2001 and 2004 when UNMIK was confused because there was no Milosevic and no basis for anti-Serbian moods, at the same time having hard time changing that mood. 17th of March of 2004, marked the third UNMIK phase when they realized they were in cooperation with the wrong people. They drew out two conclusions. First is that Serbian community is threatened and the second one is that there immediately have to be Kosovo status talks.

Ivanovic concluded that UNMIK representatives came to Kosovo in order to routinely resolve problems in spite the fact that Kosovo problems are much more complicated then the ones in Bosnia and other similar missions.


Kosovo Police station opened in Velika Hoca, Serbs unhappy

VELIKA HOCA, November 20, 2006 (Beta news agency)

Representatives of Orahovac municipality and the international community opened a Kosovo Police Station substation today in Velika Hoca in the presence of members of KFOR and the Kosovo Protection Corps, which has caused unhappiness among local Serbs.

None of the local residents of the medieval Serb village in Metohija attended the ceremony because, as some of them said, now is not the time to open a KPS substation in Velika Hoca.

During the opening, local residents went to the office of Orahovac deputy mayor Ljubisa Djuricic and Orahovac coordinator Dejan Baljosevic to protest the presence of members of the KPC at the opening of the police substation, local residents Bojan Nakalamic, Strahinja Stasic and Zoran Petkovic emphasized.

In their statements the local residents blamed their representatives for allowing the opening of the substation with two Serb and two Albanian employees without the knowledge of the villagers.

Coordinator Dejan Bajosevic told Beta that there was talk at the municipal level last year regarding opening a police substation to employ 60 percent Serbs and 40 percent members of other nationalities.

Bajosevic said that necessary conditions for this have not yet been created because not one Serb from Velika Hoca has succeeded in passing the entrance exam for the KPS School since the year 2000.

Orahovac police chief Adem Krasniqi emphasized in a statement for Beta after learning that the citizens of Velika Hoca disagreed with the move that KPS members would try to do its job but that the station can always be closed if there is considerable resistance among the citizens.

Baljosevic said that currently 22 young men from Velika Hoca have registered for the police course to take place in March so that they could assume duty at the beginning of 2008.