Ethnic Albanian timber thieves from Podujevo, in Kosovo and Metohija, are crossing into the Kursumlija municipality, in central Serbia, “on a daily basis.”
Kursumlija’s local prokupljenadlanu.rs website reported this, adding that the incursions lately most often target the village of Dobri Do, on the slopes of Mt. Radan.
In the last two weeks, (Serbian) police patrols reacted “as many as three times” to seize tractors and chainsaws – while the suspects themselves have been allowed to walk free, “with minor fines.”
“In the area of the village of Dobri Do, literally each night Albanians from the Podujevo municipality storm in and steal timber. They say they are helping us – because these days, we are carrying out legal felling in the region,” Director of the Kursumlija Forest Management Directorate Nebojsa Mihovilovic has been quoted as saying.
As this area is fairly inaccessible – the report continued – and is located on the very administrative line between (central) Serbia and Kosovo and Metohija – it is secured by the (Serbian) army and police – who in the past two weeks confiscated three tractors and three chainsaws.
However, what makes this interesting is that the tractors in question have been given back to their owners within seven days – while the chainsaws remained in custody.
Kursumlija’s Basic Prosecution sources has confirmed that the tractors have been returned – “as they are not the subject of a crime act, and therefore the suspects cannot be punished because of them.”
“Tractors don’t cut down trees,” the Kursumlija Basic Prosecution explained – instead – this is done by using “the chainsaws that have been seized.”
The municipality – whose boundary runs 102 kilometers along the Kosovo and Metohija administrative boundary – is a mountain area, where the Forestry (and Water Management) of Serbia Public Enterprise has been facing trouble with ethnic Albanian timber thieves year after year – with no apparent solution to the problem.