Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Serb Family Attacked in Apparent Housing Dispute

A Kosovo Serb family trying to reclaim a building allegedly illegally occupied by an Albanian in Klina was attacked. KPS reports that they found 23 bullets and the attack appeared to be carried out using an AK-47 while the family was asleep. The family is trying to reclaim property in Klina that they claim is theirs and never was sold to the current Albanian residing in the location. The bottom floor of the property in question has been turned into a restaurant in addition to housing an office of the Self-Determination group. The Albanian occupying the property claims that he legally purchased the property in Montenegro, while the Serbian family claims that they never sold the building after fleeing Kosovo in 1999 in fear of attack.

The illegal occupation of minority homes is a large problem in Kosovo that both the UN agencies and local government continue to battle. Many refugees return to Kosovo to find that their homes or businesses are occupied by another individual that claims to have legal ownership. Approximately 60 Serbian families have returned to Klina to find their properties occupied by Albanians who claim to have legal paperwork for the ownership of the property. When one finds their property illegally occupied, they must file a report with the Kosovo Housing and Property Directorate in order to have the property returned. The Serbian family in Klina had just filed the needed paperwork the day of the attack which begs the question, what was the motivation for the attack?