One Dead, 11 Injured in Blast in North MitrovicaBelgrade | 02 July 2010 | Bojana Barlovac
It is still unclear who attacked the protesters.
In an interview with Tanjug news agency, the director of the Healthcare Centre in Mitrovica, Milan Jakovljevic, said that pediatrician Mesud Dzekovic died at noon today from injuries he suffered from the explosion.
"Dzekovic had suffered injuries in the chest, including the heart. Doctors did everything they could, but unfortunately they could not save him," the agency quoted Jakovljevic as saying.
Dzekovic was reportedly injured in front of his family's house.
The other 11 people, including five men and six women, did not suffer life-threatening injuries as they were mostly hurt by shrapnel. Local media in Kosovo named the injured as Zoran Rakic, Verica Rakic, Bogdan Vucinic, Gradimir Ilic, Vesna Kuc, Vesna Pavicevic, Lubinko Djordjevic, Aleksandar Dordjevic, Ljubinko Vucinic and Verica Jovanovic.
The 11 hit by shrapnel were attending a protest, described as peaceful, in the Bosniak Mahala neighbourhood of north Mitrovica.
The announcement of the opening of the Kosovo government office in the Bosniak Mahala neighbourhood has upset the local Serbs and several hundred gathered this morning to protest the move.Bosniak Mahala is one of the few multi-ethnic neighbourhood in north Mitrovica, which is the Serb majority part of the divided city of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo. North Mitrovica is largely run by the Serbian government in Belgrade.
The planned office would be the first of the Kosovo government in this part of the country and is intended to issue personal documents to the citizens of this part of Kosovo.
A Pristina daily dubbed it as "the first practical step the executive power of the country would take towards the integration of this region."
Serbian President Boris Tadic called on international institutions to strongly react to what he called an attempt to destablise the area.
"As president of the Republic I request all international institutions to respond strongly and also preserve order and legality in Kosovo and Metohija and prevent provocations and threats to peace," Tadic said today.
Meanwhile, Kosovo’s President Fatmir Sejdiu condemned the blast in Mitrovica, claiming that the violence threatens the interests of all people in Kosovo.
“Kosovo institutions are deeply committed to the creation of a peaceful, stable, and safe environment for all Kosovo people no matter ethnicity or religion,” Sejdiu said.
Sejdiu asked all responsible institutions to shed light on the act and ensure that the perpetrators face justice.
Speaking on Radio Television Kosovo, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci condemned the violence in Mitrovica north and appealed to the population there not to fall prey to Belgrade’s politics.
He said that the blast among the protesters in Mitrovica was the result of the carelessness of Serb extremists.
Thaci later released a press release in which he expressed his "deep regrets for the fatal event in which one person from Kosovo died as a result of the explosion of the hand grenade in Mitrovica north”.
“I express my sincere condolence to the family of the deceased,” Thaci said.
He added that the centre for civilian services serves all people living in the north and does not present a risk to anyone.
He asked the competent authorities to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the case, and stressed that Kosovo’s government remains dedicated to the rule of law and serving all people in Kosovo.
A meeting of the Serbian National Security Council was called to discuss the situation in north Mitrovica. According to RTS, the Council dubbed the blast a terrorist attack.
Kosovo police have said that the situation in the north is calm. “The situation in Mitrovica north is quiet. We are investigating the case and for the time being there are no suspects,” Besim Hoti, Kosovo police spokesperson for Mitrovica.
According to a journalist from Kosovo Serb TV Most, Mirjana Nedeljkovic, the protests are over and the town is calm, while Kosovo government premises are being guarded by EULEX police.