On Tuesday, Serbian police arrested a prominent ethnic Serb from Kosovo, whom they believe orchestrated a recent gunfight with Kosovo police, which resulted in the deaths of four people and escalated tensions in the region.
Milan Radoii, a wealthy politician/businessman with ties to President Aleksandar Vui, has reportedly had his apartment and other property examined by police.
According to the statement, Radoii was given a 48-hour detention period.
This comes after a day of violence on September 24 in which 30 highly armed Serb men put up barricades in northern Kosovo and engaged in an hour-long gunbattle with Kosovo police, prompting an international uproar.
Belgrade does not recognize Kosovo’s proclamation of independence from 2008, hence Kosovo has accused Serbia of plotting the “act of aggression” against its former territory. Serb officials have denied any involvement and instead claimed that Radoii and his crew acted independently.
The Serbian List party in Kosovo, which has close ties to Vui’s Serbian Progressive Party, had Radoii as its deputy head. Investigative media have linked him to dubious enterprises, and he is known to own numerous mansions in Serbia and Kosovo.
Following the confrontation, Vui has praised Radoii, painting him in a positive light as a true patriot who seeks to protect Kosovo Serbs from the alleged harassment of Kosovo Albanian authorities.
The EU and the US have put pressure on Serbia to bring all those responsible for the attack, including Radoii, to justice. The United States has placed sanctions on Radoii, 45, because of his alleged involvement in unlawful financial conduct.
After the United States and the European Union voiced worry over the reported buildup of personnel and equipment, Serbia stated it had removed about half of its army troops from the border with Kosovo.
Westerners are worried that the renewed hostilities between Serbia and Kosovo would lead to a resurgence of the instability that plagued the region throughout the war years of the 1990s, notably the Kosovo conflict of 1998 and 1999.