Some "150 mujahidin" reportedly arrive in divided Kosovo town
BBC Monitoring Europe (Political) - January 14, 2009 Wednesday

Excerpt from report by Serbian privately-owned tabloid Glas javnosti, on 8 January

[Report by Ljiljana Staletovic: "Abu Bekir Sidik Ravages Mitrovica"]

The events that overshadowed New Year's 2009 in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica have once again raised the issue of activity by terrorist organizations in that area.

It has long been warned that members of the mujahedin organization "Abu Bakr Sadiq" [ABS], which has a training camp in the Bajgore area in the mountains above Kosovska Mitrovica, are freely moving about the city's Bosnjacka Mahala neighbourhood.

In recent days, around 150 mujahedins, identifiable by their shaved heads and long beards, have arrived in the neighbourhood. They have allegedly come at the bidding of local Albanians, to protect them against Serb attacks. [passage omitted]

It is not hard to draw conclusions about the motives for those attacks. The goal is clear: to extend the authority of the southern part of Mitrovica to its northern part, which is to say to give the Albanians control of that part of the southern Serbian province as well, based on the tried and true scenario of expelling Serbs through violence. The next in line would be Zvecan, Leposavic, Lesak, and Zubin Potok. The question is whether that would be the end of it.

Regarding northern Mitrovica, it is also a fact that everything begins in Bosnjacka Mahala, which is also where the mujahedin organization "Abu Bakr Sadiq" got its start. [passage omitted]

It has also been determined that it has close ties with the "Active Islamic Youth," officially a humanitarian organization based in B-H. Those groups were involved in the mining of the Raska-Kosovska Mitrovica rail line and the bomb attack on the Mehov Krs police checkpoint in 2003, which was carried out in cooperation with members of the "Active Islamic Youth" based in Novi Pazar.

On 1 December 2003, members of "Abu Bakr Sadiq" planted a bomb of great destructive force in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica. One was planted near near a transformer station, only 50 meters away from the Technical School dormitories and playground. The bomb was spotted in time, and members of an UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] special unit quickly defused it. [passage omitted]

As part of the "green transversal," Kosovo-Metohija has been a focus of those organizations' interest, alongside Bosnia-Hercegovina, Macedonia, and Albania. According to available data, several Islamic humanitarian organizations with links to Kosovo-Metohija, Albania, Macedonia, and Bosnia-Hercegovina are active in the United States and Canada, but no details are provided for who is behind those front groups, nor do the reports state which of those organizations are still active.

However, when the issue of the presence of radical Muslim organizations is raised among the Albanian public of the southern Serbian province, analysts shift responsibility to the UN mission, which has allegedly permitted "elements of Islamic terrorism to infiltrate by way of Islamic humanitarian organizations." This was once alleged by Pristina journalist Arbnor Berisha in a signed article. He repeated a statement by a representative of UNMIK who said that they are powerless, because they lack the intelligence capacity necessary to prevent the infiltration of international terrorist elements.

Vulnerable UNMIK and Kfor

International analysts interpret this position as a tacit truce, because UNMIK, like Kfor [Kosovo Force], is very vulnerable, most of all because of their reduced personnel, the structure of the units, which are principally made up of reservists, and the physical distribution of their contingents and bases.

To be sure, Western countries, especially America, became more interested in the activities of such organizations in Kosovo-Metohija, in Albania, and, in part, in Bosnia-Hercegovina after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York on 11 September 2001, over the course of the investigation into the perpetrators.

At the time, American intelligence agencies uncovered information about the ties between so-called Islamic humanitarian organizations on the one hand and groups and organizations in Kosovo-Metohija, Bosnia-Hercegovina, and Albania on the other. One such finding was that Islamic extremists were closely linked to the entire region, and that some of the preparations for the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York were made in that very triangle. [passage omitted]

Source: Glas javnosti, Belgrade, in Serbian 8 Jan 09
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