|The funeral of slain Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic. Photo: Milos Miskov/Beta.|
Former Kosovo MP Rada Trajkovic claimed on Thursday that Serb “mafia” groups have been openly participating in northern Kosovo politics since 2013, and warned that they control “life and death” in the mostly Serb-populated area.
In an interview with Serbian weekly news magazine NIN, Trajkovic rejected the possibility that ethnic Albanians were behind the murder in January of Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic.
“That is a complete lie,” she said.
She echoed Ivanovic’s own suggestion that Serbs in the north of Kosovo mostly fear Serb criminals.
Ivanovic, the leader of a Kosovo Serb party called Freedom, Democracy, Justice, was shot in front of his office on January 16, and died soon afterwards in hospital.
He had reported numerous threats in the years prior to his death, and had sought the help of both the Serbian and Kosovo authorities, but was ignored.
Trajkovic, who is against the recognition of Kosovo’s independence, said that foreign diplomats have also confirmed that there is a strong organised crime presence in the north.
She claimed the criminal groups started appearing at political rallies in northern Kosovo in 2013, participating in public life openly.
“You in Belgrade can pontificate academically [about it] as long as you don’t know how many Serbs in the north have been beaten in the past years, how many were attacked for wanting to appear on Oliver’s [party’s electoral] list,” she said.
She accused Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic of “surrendering Kosovo Serbs” to criminal forces in northern Kosovo.
“Do you really think that [Vucic] has a serious strategy for Serbs in Kosovo? What else needs to happen for Belgrade and the rest of Serbia to understand that he does not care about Kosovo?” she asked.