14 February 2007

Kosovo railway damaged in explosion

Kosovo-Polje - Zvecan railway sabotaged

Railway near village of Mijalic blown up

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, December 8, 2006 (Beta news agency, Belgrade)

Unknown attackers blew up the tracks of the railways near the village of Mijalic* near Vucitrn today at 5:30 p.m. only minutes before a train transporting Serbs from the village of Priluzje and Plemetina was scheduled to pass.

The railway line from Zvecan toward Kosovo Polje is chiefly used by Serbs traveling from Kosovo and Metohija, advised the Press Center of the Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija.

According to a written statement, the train transporting several dozen Serbs was stopped after the explosion in Vucitrn and passengers continued on their way to Priluzje and Plemetina by bus.

*After Serbs living there were expelled in 1999, the village of Mijalic has been inhabited by ethnic Albanians (KIM Info Service)


KPS confirms railway blown up

PRISTINA, December 8, 2006 (Beta news agency, Belgrade)

The Kosovo Police Service (KPS) confirmed that an explosion occurred today at about 5:00 p.m. near the village of Mijalic, municipality of Vucitrn, which damaged a section of the railway.

KPS spokesman police captain Veton Elsani said that no one was injured and that members of a region investigation unit from Kosovska Mitrovica and the district public prosecutor immediately went to the scene of the explosion to conduct an investigation.

Police thus far have no information regarding the possible perpetrators or motives of this criminal act.

Serb sources in Kosovo reported that the explosion occurred just minutes before a train transporting Serbs from the villages of Priluzje and Plemetina was scheduled to pass.


Thaci: Government responsible for appearance of masked men

PRISTINA, December 8, 2006 (Beta news agency, Belgrade)

The president of the largest opposition party, the Democratic Party of Kosovo, Hasim Thaci, stated today that the "parapolitics" of the Kosovo Government is responsible for the appearance of masked men who are harming the image of Kosovo.

"I have expressed my concern because of the current situation and the tendency toward destabilization and the damage being inflicted to the image of Kosovo independence. The Kosovo Government is guided by parapolitics and that parapolitics has put masks (masked men) on the streets of Kosovo in order to threaten the process and send a bad message for Kosovo," said Thaci after meeting with UNMIK chief Joachim Ruecker.

Thaci said that no compromises should be made with those working against the independence of Kosovo.

After the meeting the UNMIK chief stated that he had discussed current developments and the process of establishing the future status of Kosovo with the DPK president.

Ruecker expressed satisfaction with the work of the Pristina negotiating team on activities it has undertaken to explain the process of establishing status, especially decentralization, to the citizens (sic) of Kosovo.

Commenting on the appearance of masked men, Ruecker said that this has been taken seriously and that work is being done "to bring them to justice".

(Albanian language) Pristina media reported today evaluations by several security analysts that the so-called Albanian National Army, which has been proclaimed a terrorist organization, is behind the masked men.


Coordinating Center accuses UNMIK and Kosovo police

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, December 8, 2006 (Beta news agency, Belgrade)

The Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija accused security services in Kosovo today of failing to comment on "armed attacks on civilian and police vehicles" in the areas of Srbica and Klina.

In a written statement the Coordinating Center says that "as yet unidentified terrorist" groups have attacked two vehicles, one of them belonging to the Kosovo Police Service, in that area.

The statement says that the first incident occurred on December 1 at 8:30 p.m. in the village of Vocnjak on the road from Srbica to Klina.

At that time, the Coordinating Center states, shots were fired at one automobile but the driver managed to escape.

The statement says that the attackers wore uniforms of the Kosovo Protection Corps with insignia of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

It adds that on the same road near the village of Zli Potok armed attackers opened fire on a Kosovo police vehicle on December 4 at about 7:00 a.m. and that one policeman was wounded in this attack.

The Coordinating Center claims that after the incident the other policemen "flipped over the vehicle and filed a report as if it had been an automobile accident".

The Kosovo Police Service advised yesterday that after more than one year masked men had again appeared on the territory of Metohija.

KPS spokesman for the Pec region Avni Qevukaja said that these masked men had put up road blocks and were checking the documents of travelers.
He said that last night police removed once such road block after it was reported.

"In the village of Grcina, Djakovica municipality, masked and armed men set up a control checkpoint on their own initiative in order to stop and check the documents of citizens. Immediately upon receiving this information members of the KPS from Djakovica went to the scene last night at about 9:00 p.m. where they found about ten masked and armed men, who fled into the nearby woods," said the KPS official.


Use of official languages in Kosovo unsatisfactory

PRIZREN, December 8, 2006 (Beta news agency, Belgrade)

The use of official languages is not properly honored in Kosovo municipalities, says an OSCE report on the official use of minority languages in municipalities in Kosovo.

Noting that the report is based on the evaluations of OSCE municipal teams in 30 communities from March to August of this year, the study states that in 26 municipalities there is no possibility for meeting language requirements for financial reasons.

The situation in 16 municipalities is further harmed by the fact that they are receiving documents from central authorities exclusively in the Albanian language.

This has an additional negative influence on achieving standards on language use in the municipalities of Zubin Potok, Leposavic and Zvecan, which have severed ties with the central government in Pristina.

Also demonstrated is a comprehensive lack of political will as, for example, in the municipality of Zvecan, where it is claimed that meeting language standards is not a priority.

In Novo Brdo, Kacanik, Suva Reka, Malisevo, Glogovac, Obilic and Djeneral Jankovic translating teams have not yet been formed, says the OSCE report.
Minority communities in municipalities north of the Ibar River are completely dependent of UNMIK with respect to translation services. In Pristina, Obilic and Pec, ads have been placed for additional translators.

As far as respecting languages and scripts in street names, signage and road signs is concerned, there is a lot of discrepancy. Thus, many signs and markings in Glogovac, Malisevo and Kacanik are exclusively in Albanian.

On the other hand, in Zubin Potok, Leposavic and Zvecan, as well as in villages with a Serb majority (sic) population near Pristina, Lipljan, Pec and Istok, signage is exclusively in Serbian.

The OSCE report recommends full respect for regulations, including the law against discrimination, ensuring equal language rights for minority communities, and establishment of priority for translating services upon allotment of funding.

At the Kosovo level, official languages are Albanian and Serbian, and in municipalities where other communities live in significant number, Bosnian is also in use, and since recently Turkish, for example, in Prizren.