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The Information Service of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija

Daily press briefing of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija

Gracanica, July 12, 2000

PRIEST AND TWO THEOLOGIANS WOUNDED

Dragan Kojic, a priest of the Serbian Orthodox Church serving the region of Vitina and Klokota, southwest of Gnjilane, was wounded this morning at approximately 11:00 a.m. along with two other theologians on the road between the village of Klokota and Vitina. After serving today’s liturgy in celebration of Petrovdan (St. Peter’s Day, July 12), Father Dragan started out in his car from the village of Klokota toward Vitina. Upon leaving Klokota unknown attackers opened fire from automatic weapons and wounded Father Dragan; Zvonko Kostic, a student of theology; and his friend, also a theologian, named Dragisa. Also in the automobile was the three year-old child of Father Dragan; the child was unharmed. Kojic, the priest, was shot in the shoulder; Zvonko, the theologian, was shot in the leg; and Dragisa was shot near the kidneys. All three wounded men are not in life-threatening danger and were immediately evacuated to the American military hospital in the military base Bondsteel ! near Urosevac. After this terrorist attack the local Serbs spontaneously gathered to protest the incident and strong US KFOR forces arrived at the place of the attack.

This attack occurred only several days after the publishing of an article in the Albanian paper “Dita” in which the Serbs from the Gnjilane region are accused of responsibility for “war crimes”. Among those named who allegedly worked with paramilitary forces also named, completely unjustifiably, were two priests of the Serbian Orthodox Church from the Gnjilane region. The SNC sharply protested because of this article in “Dita” since a similar article one month ago led directly to the kidnapping and murder of Petar Topoljski, a Serb, who was employed by the UN mission in Pristina. At today’s meeting of the Kosovo Transitional Council, some half an hour before this attack on a priest of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Protosyncellus Sava publicly called on Dr. Kouchner to undertake urgent measures against the publishing of “fatwahs” or public death sentences through the newspapers.

The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija most strongly condemns this attack on a priest and theologians and requests an urgent investigation as well as concrete measures against incitement of hate and violence through Albanian language newspapers.

In the afternoon hours Protosyncellus Sava and Archmonk Nektarije Vurgucic visited the wounded priest Kojic and the two theologians in the military base Bondsteel.

At the session of the Kosovo Transitional Council, the representatives of the SNC also condemned a series of mortar attacks on Velika Hoca and Gorazdevac and requested an urgent investigation and concrete measures against these terrorist attacks. This behavior on the part of the Albanian extremists demonstrates even more the need for the organization of Serb local offices and implementation of the security measures foreseen by the Agreement on Understanding between the SNC and UNMIK.

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