Kosovo police are investigating an explosion at the electricity distribution facility in the Serb-majority north Mitrovica, north of Kosovo, causing an hours-long power outage.
The explosion was caused by an explosive device being thrown at the electricity distribution facility in north Mitrovica, say police.
“It is suspected that a hand explosive device caused the explosion at the electro-distributor,” Mitrovica’s Chief Prosecutor Ismet Ujkani told reporters.
According to police, the attack was committed by “unknown individuals.”
The explosion took place on Thursday around 10.40pm. According to media reports, most of the city was without electricity all evening as a result of the attack.
Besim Hoti, regional director of Kosovo Police in Mitrovica, told reporters that no individuals were injured in the attack. Police suspect the device was purposely thrown at the electricity distribution facility.
“There was a fire in the substation; at first it was believed it was due to the high voltage but after investigating it, it was clear that there was an attack,” Hoti said.
Several vehicles close to the electricity distribution facility were also damaged in the attack, said Hoti.
Kosovo Public Broadcaster, Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK), reported that three criminal cases have been opened in relation to the attack.
The facility at the centre of the attack is managed by Elektrokosmet, a Serbian company operating within the Serbian state-run energy company Elektroprivreda Srbije. The latter has purportedly not been operating in accordance with Kosovo’s legal framework.
Based on a June 21 agreement between Kosovo and Serbia designed to implement the countries’ 2013 and 2015 energy agreements, the competencies of Electrokosmet are to be handed over to Drustvo Elektrosever, a subsidiary of the Serbian company in Kosovo.
The agreement signed in June would see Serbs in the north of Kosovo pay for electricity for the first time in 23 years.
Under the plan, Drustvo Elektrosever is to obtain a licence from the Kosovo Energy Regulatory Office (ERO) and abide by the Kosovo legal framework. In doing so, Drustvo Elektrosever is to provide distribution services- and charge for these services- to consumers in the north of Kosovo.
The arrangement has been designed to resolve the ongoing issue of consumers not paying for electricity in the Serb-majority municipalities in north Kosovo. Serbs in the area have not paid for electricity since the Kosovo war in 1999, on the assertion that they do not recognise Kosovo’s institutions.
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