Ferdinand Nikolla is a peace and security expert from Prishtina, former Political Advisor of the Minister of Internal Affairs of Republic of Kosovo. Currently, Ferdinand leads the Institute for Peace and Security (IPS) in Pristina.
We discussed the situation in Zvecani, Kosovo, where on Sunday, September 24, when an armed group of Serbian extremists exchanged heavy fire with the Kosovo special police. One police officer is killed and three wounded, three attackers were killed, and about a dozen arrested.
In this excerpt we are bringing his view of the possible involvement of the Wagner mercenary group in the incident.
CIVIL MEDIA: What do we know so far about the Wagner group involvement in Kosovo in general, or in yesterday’s incident?
FERDINAND NIKOLLA: It’s important to emphasize that the north of Kosovo, the northern municipalities, have always been a shelter for criminal gangs and terrorist groups. You know, the Kosovo government has declared Nacionalna Zaštita a terrorist organization this year. And, there are steps to ensure sovereignty and control of the northern part.
But, making sure that they are creating a safe and secure environment for citizens – and this, I think, was a problem for years, for the groups, all groups and criminal groups that are involved in organized crime, in corruption – to accept such an approach from the Kosovo government and Kosovo institutions. This is where the tension continues to rise.
As for the Wagner, we know that the police killed three and arrested six of the gunmen. We have to see what the investigations have to show about the specific question you asked, and whether there was involvement of Wagner group, or Wagner supporters, or mercenaries.
What we know for sure is that the operation has lot of characteristics of how mercenary groups operate, one of them being Wagner. So, this we know, but for the information we have to wait a little bit more to speak more accurately about the potential involvement of Wagner terrorist group in this particular case.
The interview was conducted by Xhabir Deralla
Cameras, video-editing: Arian Mehmeti
Transcript: Natasha Cvetkovska