Serbian Army, KFOR to strengthen joint patrols

BELGRADE – In the wake of the murder of a member of the Serbian Gendarmerie that occured in the night between Wednesday and Thursday, Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces (VS) Ljubisa Dikovic and KFOR Commander Salvatore Farina agreed Thursday to urgently strengthen joint VS-KFOR patrols, especially in the areas where yesterday’s illegal logging had been spotted.
In a telephone conversation with General Farina, General Dikovic sought greater KFOR engagement along the administrative line between Kosovo-Metohija (KiM) and central Serbia “in order to prevent illegal activities in the area.”
He said it was unacceptable that a group of civilians from KiM could freely move armed with automatic rifles and illegally cut down trees in forests and attack security forces of the Republic of Serbia who been had completely legitimately preventing them from doing that activity.
Dikovic said that those armed civilians were responsible for terrorist acts, such as the latest attack on members of the Gendarmerie of the Republic of Serbia.
The VS Chief of the General Staff and the KFOR Commander “agreed to urgently strengthen joint patrols, especially in the areas where the illegal logging was sighted,” the VS said in a release.
General Farina has condemned the attacks on the security forces of the Republic of Serbia, the release said.
Stevan Sindjelic (30), member of the Serbian Gendarmerie from the Kraljevo detachment, was killed in the armed attack by several unknown persons, probably ethnic Albanians from KiM, which occurred on Thursday around 3 a.m. on the territory of the village of Orlovac not far from the Merdare crossing on the administrative line between central Serbia and KiM.
Sindjelic was wounded in the head and succumbed to his wounds at the Military Medical Academy in Belgrade during the night.
The Serbian Gendarmerie members were attacked while securing the site where several Albanians from KiM were spotted illegally felling trees by a patrol from the Kursumlija police station during a regular field visit yesterday.
Several people from the group opened fire at the police patrol, and the shootout resulted in an ethnic Albanian getting wounded. Nobody was hurt among the officers.
The forest thieves returned to the same place early Thursday morning to retrieve their weapons, tractor, and other items that they left behind while escaping fire yesterday. They attacked the Gendarmerie officers who were conducting an investigation at the site and mortally wounded officer Sindjelic


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