Panda Bar massacre
|Panda Bar massacre|
|Location||Peć, Kosovo, FR Yugoslavia|
|Date||Night of 14 December 1998
9 PM (Central European Time)
|Perpetrators||Unknown, allegedly Kosovo Liberation Army or State Security Administration|
The Panda Bar massacre or Panda Café attack (Serbian: напад на кафић „Панда") was a terrorist attack believed to have been carried out by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) against Serbian civilians in the city of Peć in north-western Kosovo[a], on the night of 14–15 December 1998. Two masked men opened fire into a coffee bar, killing six Serb men, five of whom were teenagers, and wounding 15. On 14 December Serbian police ambushed KLA smuggling weapons and supplies from Albania. The Panda Bar attack appeared as a reprisal, and broke the brief cease-fire between the Albanian and Serbian forces during the Kosovo War. The victims were Ivan Obadović (14 years old), Vukota Gvozdenović (16), Svetislav Ristić (17), Zoran Stanojević (17), Dragan Trifović (17) and student Ivan Radević (25). The KLA did not accept responsibility.
The Panda Bar incident led to an immediate crackdown on the Albanian-populated southern quarters of Peć – Kapešnica and Zatra. The area was sealed off, and houses were searched systematically. Media reports stated that Serbian police killed two Kosovo Albanians during the operation. The OSCE later made a report on the event and its aftermath, calling it the Panda Bar incident. Several Albanians were arrested and found guilty of the crime. They were released one month after sentencing with the intermediation of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Several of them were tortured in prison according to Albanian newspapers. The grave stones of the victims have been destroyed.
Controversy arose when, on 17 January 2014, the Serbian newspaper Kurir reported that a source close to the Serbian government claimed that Radomir Marković, the war-time head of State Security Service, offered evidence to the government that the attack was carried out by the organization of Milorad Ulemek (Legija). The source claimed that it was made in order for the KLA to appear as a terrorist organisation. At the same time, the source said, that Legija alleged that it was in fact Radomir Marković who ordered and had the attack carried out. Earlier, claims had been made that the MI6 or SAS had carried out the attack, which Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić denied, and said that "There are strange things [connected to it] and it is very difficult to speak about it today. When we have more details, we will inform the public about them".
|a.||^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has received formal recognition as an independent state from 111 out of 193 United Nations member states.|
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