How we are (un)informed about the conflict in the north of Kosovo

Riots in Kosovo / Photo EPA-EFE/DJORDJE SAVIC

Who are the people who blocked the bridge to Banjska last weekend in the night between Saturday and Sunday. Who led them, who armed and trained them, what was their goal, how did they escape to central Serbia, who was hospitalized in Novi Pazar, is anyone being treated at the VMA Polyclinic, is there Milan Radoicic in the video released by the Kosovo Minister of Police , but also whether the Serbian authorities and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic were involved in the whole case and to what extent. Is there involvement of the Serbian security structures in the event, but also whether foreign services were also involved in the conflict - these are all questions to which we still do not have complete answers.

The fact is that in the first open armed conflict between Serbs and Albanians after the pogrom in 2004, one Kosovo policeman and three Serbs died, and the shooting began in the village of Banjska on the night between Saturday and Sunday, around 2:30 a.m., when the Serbs blocked it with trucks the bridge that leads to the center of the village.

When the Kosovo police arrived, the Serbs started shooting and killed the policeman. The shooting continued during the day, when it was announced from the Rashko-Prizren diocese that a group of armed masked persons with an armored vehicle broke into the monastery and broke through the locked monastery gate. After the clash with the Kosovo forces, the group of Serbs left the monastery, and it was reported from Pristina that some of the attackers were arrested.

In central Serbia – media fog

The public received the first information about the event from the address of Kosovo officials Albin Kurti and Vjosa Osmani, who announced that one Kosovo policeman was killed and another was wounded in an attack in the village of Banjska, immediately assessing that it was a terrorist attack. and organized crime with help from Belgrade, followed by official announcements from Kosovo institutions.

During that time, in central Serbia – media fog. Radio Television Serbia and national frequency television stations were conspicuously silent, with no live broadcasts, special shows or analyst commentary.

The portals immediately conveyed the news that a Kosovo policeman was killed, that the Jarinje and Brnjak crossings were blocked, that the tension is growing in the north of Kosovo and Metohija. The news that there was an armed conflict between Serbs and Albanians in the north of Kosovo and that an Albanian policeman was killed was only commented on by the President of the Assembly Vladimir Orlić, who happened to be a guest on a national television channel and briefly said that violence and open escalation suits him. only to Albin Kurti.

At around noon, the Rashko-Prizren Diocese announced that a group of armed masked persons with an armored vehicle broke into the Banjska monastery, and that they strongly condemn the latest attack that took place in the north of Kosovo, expressing their condolences to the family of the dead policeman.

The director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Petar Petkovic, first announced a press conference for 14 pm, and then soon canceled it, stating that President Aleksandar Vucic would address the public in the afternoon.

In the meantime, Kfor, EULEX, the ambassadors of the NATO decision-making five (USA, France, Germany, Italy and Britain), Miroslav Lajčak, Josep Borrell, Oliver Varhelji, Edi Rama, announced themselves... but it is still not known who the attackers were. in the conflict with the Kosovo police and why the conflict occurred.

That was not clear even after the Kosovo police announced around 15:30 that one of the attackers was killed, whom they had already characterized as a terrorist, and two more attackers were liquidated.

Around 19:20, the Rashko-Prizren Diocese announced that the situation in the monastery is peaceful and that the armed persons are not there, and the media reported that those arrested in Banjska were detained at the police station in southern Mitrovica. It wasn't until XNUMX:XNUMX p.m. that the president of the country, Aleksandar Vucic, addressed the public, who said that three Kosovo Serbs died in the conflict, that the Serbian army and police did not participate in the attack, but that the Serbs rebelled because they no longer wanted to suffer Kurti's terror. .

Pochuca, Bihali, Wagner, Milan Radoicic

The true identity of the murdered Serbs was first published on social networks, and they also transferred it some media, but their names were first officially announced by President Aleksandar Vucic in his address on RTS on September 27.

During all these days, a lot of information circulated on social networks and portals - from that of Kosovo and Metohija were killed Radomir Pochuca and Pavle Bihali, that members of the the movement Obraz and Russian Wagner, that armedthose people were kept by believers and monks in a monasteryfrom Banjska.  The Visoki Dečani Monastery warned on Monday about a series of misinformation and fake news spreading after the conflict, especially in the Kosovo media. ordering that malicious attacks and the spread of false information do not contribute to peace, but only increase inter-ethnic tensions in Kosovo and Metochia.

They are on social networks, but also in the media was guessing how many attackers were killed - the media reported that the fourth attacker also died, which was not the case was true, while some social media accounts reported up to ten victims.

On the networks he was also guessing who are the killed, so there were and published that Radomir Pochuca, a former pro-Russian journalist, as well as the leader of the right-wing movement Leviathan, Pavle Bihali, are among the killed.

On social networks roundеand information и that the attackers had the support of the Russian mercenary group Wagner.

A new reason for doubting the veracity of the published information was given by the Minister of Police, Jellal Svechlja, who about the attack directly accused the controversial businessman and vice-president of Srpska lista, Milan Radoicic, stating that his documents were found at the scene, as maps and police attack plans.

Svechlja also published a video from the Banja Monastery, which, as it claims, shows the armed vice-president of the Serbian List, Milan Radoicic.

Аthe authenticity of that video нcan be determined

President Alexanдar Vucic neither denies nor confirms that Radoicic is in the video, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic claims that the video shows snow and therefore cannot be authenticо. A drone video has surfaced online showing people retreating from the monastery over the hill.

In the meantime, confusing there was also the data coming from the Kosovo Prosecutor's Office about the number of arrestees, so for some time it was not clear how manymine were arrested, and how manymine have been released from custody. There was also great confusion about who е in the hospital in Novi Pazar - the medical facility in central Serbia that is closest to where the conflict took place.

Journalists failed to get official information for that whether and how many people are treated in that institution and what are their injuries, but newsи reacheda and through other channels, which is not usual for that hospital. The media reported that in front of the hospital in Novi Pazar there was a visible presence of police officers who were not there two days later. Another unverified information conveyed by Svechlja is that Radoicic is injured and is being treated at the VMA, but President Vucic her denies.

It is still not clear what happened

The struggle with disinformation, half-information and fake news is not atypical for the relations between Belgrade and Pristina, but after the last conflict with fatal outcomes, it became very noticeable.

Citizens in central Serbia and Kosovo still do not understand what actually happened, because of what, but and how will this end - will pthe ear already crackedа or is this just the first act of a new play being written.

Source: Demostat


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