The NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force on Monday said that 25 of its troops were injured in the clashes with ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo who were trying to take over the offices of one of the municipalities where ethnic Albanian mayors took up their posts last week, APA reports citing Associated Press.
The Serbs started clashing with the police in the morning in the municipality of Zvecan, 45 kilometers (28 miles) north of the capital, Pristina. In the afternoon, KFOR soldiers called on Serbs to clear the way for two vehicles from the Kosovar special police forces.
The soldiers then used tear gas and stun grenades to protect the Kosovar officers in the vehicles and disperse protesters, according to witnesses and local media. The assembled Serbs responded by throwing rocks and other hard objects.
“Several soldiers of the Italian and Hungarian KFOR contingent were the subject of unprovoked attacks and sustained trauma wounds with fractures and burns due to the explosion of incendiary devices,” said a KFOR statement.
Some Kosovo police vehicles and one belonging to journalists were damaged. Pictures showed graffiti with Serb nationalist symbols sprayed over them.
The violence was the latest incident as tensions soared over the past week, with Serbia putting the country’s military on high alert and sending more troops to the border with Kosovo, which declared independence from Belgrade in 2008.