PRISTINA – Kosovo police said one person was wounded when it opened fire on Monday at a car that failed to stop at a checkpoint and struck a police vehicle, in what marked another violent incident in the country’s ethnically divided and volatile north.
It took place in the town of Leposavic near the border with Serbia at one of the checkpoints set up following a flare-up in tensions late last month. Serbian authorities said both the driver and the injured passenger were Serbs.
“The police unit, which was at the checkpoint, while performing its police duties was trying to stop a car, which … hit the Kosovo police vehicle, endangering the lives of the officers,” Kosovo police said in a statement.
It said the car left the scene and an investigation into the incident was under way.
Head of the Serbian government office for Kosovo Petar Petkovic said that the incident occurred around 11.30 a.m., identifying the injured man as Miljan D. and the driver as Dusan S.
Ever since Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, tensions have repeatedly flared up between the ethnic Albanian majority and about 100,000 ethnic Serbs, half of whom live in the north and most refuse to recognise Kosovo’s independence.
Earlier this month, thousands of Serbs took to the streets to protest after an off-duty Kosovo soldier shot and wounded two young Serbs in the south of the country.
Last month, an arrest of a former Serb policeman for an alleged assault of active police officers set off a round of protests while tensions over Kosovo’s push to force some 50,000 Serbs in the north to give up their Serbian license plates have simmered for months.