Firefighters Hurt in K. Mitrovica Explosions

3 January 2009 | 10:58 -> 15:37 | Source: B92, Beta

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA — Six firefighters have been injured last night in northern Kosovska Mitrovica in an explosion that took place as they put out a fire. Doctors speak to reporters in northern Kosovska Mitrovica on Saturday (Tanjug). The incident happened in the Bosnjacka Mahala neighborhood, while the fire was reported in a store owned by an Albanian.

Most TV reporter Mirjana Nedeljkovic and cameraman Dejan Tanasijevic were also injured in the commotion that followed after the blast. One of the two firefighters – both Serbs – who suffered the worst injuries, Marko Kisic, has al ready been operated on, while Bratislav Bozovic will undergo surgery later in the day. Kisic’s condition is stable, but his life is still in danger, Surgery Ward Chief Radomir Jankovic told reporters.

His small intestine has been perforated in 19 places, and considering possible infections, this is a serious wound. Kisic also has pieces of shrapnel in his chest and legs, but no vital organs have been damaged.

Healthcare Center Director Milan Ivanovic told B92 this morning that all those treated at this hospital are currently stable, adding that two firefighters and the journalist are in intensive care.

The injured reporter is suffering from amnesia, she does not remember anything that happened after a blow she received. A this point, however, all those hurt are stable,” Ivanovic said. He explained that two explosions went off in northern Kosovska Mitrovica during the night, the first one near a café. “After that, there was great disturbance, tension. An Albanian-owned store was set on fire and later an explosive device was thrown at the firefighters putting down the flames at the store,” he said. “After that KFOR and KPS intervened, and the situation calmed down soon after that intervention and the blockade of that part of Bosnjacka Mahala, and is calm right now.” Ivanovic said.

KPS spokesman Besim Hoti told B92 that the investigation is still ongoing this morning. He also stated that KFOR and EULEX police prevented a clash between the groups that had gathered at the scene. A KPS statement has in the meantime confirmed that the first explosion took place near Viva café on Sutjeska St. at 22:45 CET Friday, when at least eight vehicles were damaged, but no one was hurt.

KFOR members are saying that they found an unexploded hand grenade at the scene of the second incident, where the firefighters were injured. “It is believed that the unexploded bomb was planted along with the one that went off,” police said.

This is the second serious incident in the past five days in the ethnically divided Kosovo town. Previously, two ethnic Albanians stabbed a 16-year-old Serb boy, also in the northern, mostly Serb area. Meanwhile in Belgrade, Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanovic issued a statement condemning in the strongest terms the perpetrators of the latest incidents in Kosovska Mitrovica, pointing out that police must do all to apprehend those who attacked firemen, and bring them to justice.

Events such as this come as a result of the legal and security vacuum in Kosovska Mitrovica. The international community must do all to secure a safe environment for all residents,” the minister said. He also appealed on the Serbs in the town to stay calm and ignore provocations.

In Pristina, Kosovo’s president, Fatmir Sejdiu, called on citizens to avoid provocation and to help preserve peace and stability in Kosovo. He also called on the security forces to find those responsible for the two incidents in Kosovska Mitrovica, and wished “a speedy recovery to the firefighters and the injured citizens“.

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