Police operation in Mitrovica, Kurti: Crime will not be tolerated. Serbian media are ethnicizing and politicizing crime

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A police crackdown on illegal products was met with opposition in northern Kosovo. The operation began in the early hours of Wednesday in numerous districts of Kosovo, including the North and South Mitrovica regions, Pristina, and Peja, according to authorities.

Goods suspected of being smuggled have been seized by the police. The searches and raids on residences, enterprises, and warehouses are being carried out on the orders of the competent courts, according to the police. The action in the north focused on pharmacies and shops suspected of selling Serbian goods.

Some citizens have attacked the police and threw stones against their vehicles.

Kurti reacts to the situation in Mitrovica

Following the police action in Mitrovica’s north and south, Prime Minister Albin Kurti issued a statement. He warns citizens in the northern municipality of Mitrovica not to fall prey to Serbian media. Kurti underlined that the government of Kosovo is adamant about combating crime and smuggling.

Kurti’s statement:

The Kosovo Police conducted raid operations at multiple sites in Pristina, Peja, and Mitrovica early this morning to tackle smuggling (both south and north).

These police measures are preceded by thorough investigations, and they are ordered and coordinated with the respective prosecutions and courts. Several goods were seized, all of which provide relevant evidence.

Crime and criminal organizations will not be tolerated, and they will be prosecuted.  Smuggling shall be combated and prevented.

The police operation of today has come to an end. I urge citizens in Mitrovica’s northern municipality not to fall prey to some Serbian media outlets that want to politicize and ethnicize crime, corruption, and smuggling.

Reaction from Serbia

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Bernabic has appealed to the international community, NATO, and KFOR to stop Prime Minister Albin Kurti, alleging that his actions are beyond reproach and are bringing the country to the edge of disaster.

Petar Petkovic, the director of the Serbian government’s Kosovo office, said he alerted the European Union’s High Representative for Dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, about the situation in Kosovo’s north.