Tension escalates as Serbs in Kosovo remain without mobile phones

08:46, April 30, 2010      

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A bomb was thrown at the police station in Zubin Potok, in northern Kosovo, in the early morning hours on Thursday while the Kosovo mobile phone network suffered the fourth attack on its installations in a week, with the dynamiting of an antenna, reported Radio Television Serbia (RTS).

Police spokesman, Besim Hoti, said there was material damage to the police station and no one was injured. The transmitter belonging to the Kosovo mobile operator IPKO was damaged by an explosion, but the resulting fire was quickly extinguished, according to Hoti.

Tension is rising in Kosovo, according to RTS, since Kosovo authorities shut down or damaged 24 base stations belonging to Serbian mobile phone operators, leaving approximately 100,000 Serbs living in enclaves without means of communication. The move is largely interpreted by Serbian officials as additional pressure on these Serbs to integrate into Kosovo institutions, which they do not officially recognize.

The Kosovo Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said that it had taken action against "unauthorized illegal activity of non- licensed operators, who have extended their network within the territory of Kosovo."

Serbian Minister of Communication Jasna Matic said that only the United Nations mission on Kosovo (UNMIK) was competent to regulate telecommunications, according to Resolution 1244. She added that her ministry would petition both the International Telecommunications Union and the UN to resolve this situation.



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