Explosion shakes Kosovo’s public broadcaster RTK

Explosion shakes Kosovo’s public broadcaster RTK
By Dimitar Koychev in Sofia August 23, 2016

The main building of Kosovo’s public broadcaster RTK was rocked by a powerful explosion at about 10pm on August 22, RTK said in a brief statement on its website. At the time of the blast, there were journalists and other staff in the building, but there were no casualties.

The incident took place in a climate of increased tensions between government and opposition as Kosovan MPs prepare to vote in September 1 on a controversial border demarcation deal with Montenegro. In a similar incident on August 4, an explosive device was thrown at the Kosovan parliament.

RTK said in the statement, published late on August 22, that its building was attacked with a hand grenade, according to the police demining unit.

“Police have cordoned off the television building and are examining evidence,” the statement added. “RTK staff are waiting for the police report to come up with their official account of the explosion.”

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The explosive device was thrown at the parliament just hours after the government adopted a bill on ratifying the border demarcation agreement and sent it to the parliament. Five days later, a hand grenade was thrown at the house of the head of the government commission for demarcation, Murat Meha.

On August 5, the EU Office in Kosovo / EU Special Representative strongly condemned the attack on the parliament. "An attack on the main institution of Kosovo is an attack on democracy and on representatives of the people of Kosovo and as such is unacceptable. We call on law enforcement institutions to quickly identify the perpetrators and to bring them to justice", the statement said.

Opposition lawmakers have repeatedly disrupted parliament sessions by letting off tear gas. Most recently on August 9, an MP from the opposition party Vetevendosje (Self Determination) party released a tear gas canister during a meeting of a parliamentary committee reviewing the border proposal.