Prepared by: Ridona Berisha
Officials from Serbia have attempted to disseminate disinformation in their efforts to deny the terrorist attack on September 24th in Banjska, Zveçan. They raised doubts about the images published by Kosovo authorities, which were initially released in international media, confirming that a former deputy chairman of the Serbian List, Milan Radojçiq, was part of the group. Armed with firearms, grenades, and mines, the terrorist group was filmed at the entrance of a hideout near the Banjska Monastery.
Two days after the attack, Kosovo’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Xhelal Sveçla, published a video focusing on a group of around ten people, with particular attention to Milan Radojçiq. Besides the Kosovo law enforcement, who has been searching for him for several years,Radojçiq is also on the U.S. and UK’s Black List.
“Criminal leader Radojçiq was the ringleader of this terrorist group and the attack in which police officer Afrim Bunjaku lost his life. This is another piece of evidence of his terrorist activities against the Republic of Kosovo. The deputy chairman of the Serbian List is the ringleader of the terrorist attack and the terrorist group,” Sveçla wrote, accompanying the post with the drone footage captured by the Kosovo Police on September 24th.
But Serbia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ivica Daçiq, in an interview for the Serbian public television RTS, while commenting on the video, stated that it was not filmed on the day of the attack. “The video is not from that day, and you can see the snow”, Daçiq said.
He changed his statement a few days later, but only after Radojçiq admitted to being part of the attacking group on that crucial day when Kosovo Police Officer Afrim Bunjaku was killed.
On September 29th, 2023, the deputy chairman of the Serbian List, Milan Radojçiq, confirmed through his lawyer that he had organized and participated in the September 24th attack.
Attempting to justify that someone else had sent him the old video, Daçiq acknowledged his mistake. “Someone told me it was an older video, and I didn’t verify it. My mistake. I didn’t intend to absolve Radojçiq ”, said the head of Serbian diplomacy. Furthermore, he added that the events in Banjska were one of the most challenging situations since 2004. Nevertheless, just like Serbian President Vuçiq, he denied Serbia’s involvement in the planning and organization of the terrorist attack. However, after the attackers left for Serbia, Kosovo authorities seized heavy weaponry and documentation, which, according to them, proves that the type of armament belongs to the Serbian army. Moreover, this group had been conducting training sessions for months in training centers within Serbia’s territory.
*This article is published as part of the Western Balkans Regional Initiative against disinformation. Western Balkans Anti-Disinformation Hub: exposing malign influences through watchdog journalism.