Tensions in Kosovo 30 gunmen holed up in a monastery

Tensions in Kosovo: 30 gunmen holed up in a monastery, 4 men killed, including a police officer

About thirty armed men stormed into a village in the predominantly Serb north of Kosovo this Sunday, surrendered to the police and fled to a monastery, where a shootout left three attackers dead and one dead. police officer, authorities said.

Monks and pilgrims were stuck at the Serbian Orthodox monastery in the village of Banjska for hours while police surrounded the area. While the majority of Kosovo’s 1.8 million residents are of Albanian origin, around 50,000 people from the Serb community make up the bulk of the population in the north of the country, where clashes last May left dozens injured.

The Serbs never accepted Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence and continue to consider Belgrade their capital. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for this Sunday’s violence. Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti blamed “Serbia-funded criminals” for the attack, describing them as “professionals with military experience” and calling on them to surrender. There was no immediate comment from Serbian officials.