Mitrovica - One year after Kosovo police action that was undertaken under the orders of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kosovo, in order to take control of two customs posts in the north, separating Kosovo with Serbia, the situation in northern Kosovo remains fragile and in some aspects more severe than it used to be.
The action of the Special Police Units carried out in July, 25 of the last year was followed by killing and wounding of many, leaving behind many barricades on the streets. Some of them continue to "stand" without being swayed, thus obstructing the free circulation of citizens.
The main bridge over the Iber River, after this action, was turned into a parking lot disabling its exploitation for the purpose for which it is built, because the barrier set by the Serbs is still guarded with "jealousy" by them.
Civil authorities in Mitrovica, say the real situation on the ground remains still serious. "The situation on the ground has not improved, it is still serious, still street barricades that hinder the circulation and many other things," Ahmet Jashari, the spokesman of the municipality, says,
According to him, the last year action has changed the situation politically, by preventing threats for autonomy of the north, and for the partition of Kosovo, etc.., and now borders are monitored by the internationals.
Viewed from the security aspect, almost during the whole year the northern Kosovo has had troubles bringing uncertainty. This is confirmed by Besim Hoti, the regional police spokesman of Kosovo.
Generally, if we refer to the whole past year, we had big troubles with extremists in the north; there have been attacks on the Kosovo Police, KFOR, EULEX, which have brought insecurity in this region."
According to the Police, the situation on the ground indicates that this year the target of the attacks were local and international security authorities, and Kosovo institutions, while the number of interethnic incidents marked a decrease.
"What is considered positive is the determination to put the north under control and enforce the law in northern Kosovo, and the international willingness to support in this regard," Hoti said. Avni Alidemaj, of civil society, said: "Since then, parallel structures in the northern Kosovo have been consolidated and have increased their pressure on the Albanians, as well as on other communities trying to prevent any cooperation between them and the Kosovo institutions.
“Freedom of movement in northern Kosovo has become insurmountable challenge not only for citizens but also for KFOR", he said, adding that "since the action, the population is carrying the main burden of family and personal safety as structures called to do so can not guarantee security even for themselves, defined in one word as a total malfunction.
On the other hand, Faton Peci, the opposition of local authorities in Mitrovica, says that unfortunately the overall security situation in Mitrovica region is out of the control of Kosovo institutions, with the potential to destabilize whenever it goes in favor of Belgrade.
According to him, this is due to unwillingness of UNMIK and other international mechanisms to establish law and order in northern Kosovo, omissions of relevant local mechanisms with particular emphasis in June 1999, the lack of a clear strategy for establishing the local authorities, especially after the declaration of Independence.
Referring to a one year situation after the action, he considered that the immediate withdrawal with fatal consequences and subsequent courses have shown that this was a fatal failure of Kosovo institutions.
"Today we must not forget that the fragile movement of citizens that existed before the action is now almost completely paralyzed. We must not forget that the way the action was conducted through bombastic news about the action, when knowing sensitivity of the situation, then the time of its implementation, suggest that the Kosovo government has taken this action to justify itself before the citizens for their impotence and to open path to political talks over the north, " Peci says.
Regardless of different opinions about the overall situation in the region, one year after the action, local authorities view the north just as an untidy room inside the house, but the street barricades speak for themselves.
Kosovo-Serbia interstate border is under international control, but the small "boundaries" deep in the north are still managed by illegal structures, dissolution of which until now remained only words. The anniversary of the action in the north is said to be marked with a protest- rally, while in the south with running.
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