Kills Three Romanies Gypsies, Injures One In Kosovo
MALI ALAS, Aug 3,
2000 -- (Reuters) Three Romanies were killed and one injured
when their vehicle drove over a mine planted in a road in Kosovo, a
for the British peacekeepers there said on Thursday.
The mine exploded
in the village of Mali Alas, around 15 km (12 miles) south of
Kosovo's capital Pristina, on Wednesday at around 9.30 p.m. (1930 GMT),
Hurley, spokeswoman for the British contingent of the NATO-led KFOR
At the scene, KFOR
helicopters flew overhead while British and Finnish soldiers
scoured the area.
The commander of
Britain's KFOR contingent, Brigadier Richard Shirreff, said the
attack had clearly been carefully planned. Asked who might be responsible,
"It is somebody
who has clearly targeted this particular family in a murderous
Hurley said a man,
his son and a nephew had been killed while another son was
slightly injured. Earlier the peacekeepers had thought two people had
Mali Alas is an
ethnically mixed village, with about 700 Albanian inhabitants and 250
Kosovo Serbs and
other minorities like the Roma who are seen as their allies have
been frequently attacked by Albanians, angry at years of Serb repression,
NATO-led peacekeepers took de-facto control of the province last June.
a former separatist Kosovo Albanian guerrilla and now leader of
the third biggest political group, the Alliance for Future, also arrived
at the scene,
saying he wanted to offer condolences to relatives of the victims.
"It is not
the time for such attacks," he said. "Albanians and Roma lived
a long time but after the war there were some attacks against Roma because
were involved in attacks against Albanians," he said.
prevent Kosovo heading for the future," he said.
shot dead in flashpoint Kosovo region
Aug 6 (AFP) - An elderly Serb has been
found shot dead in an ethnically-mixed area of Kosovo where four
people were murdered earlier this week, a UN spokeswoman said
Claire Trevena said the 63-year-old Serb was found dead by a
patrol of KFOR peacekeepers who heard shots in the village of
Skulaneva, six miles (10 kilometres) south of Pristina. An
investigation has been launched by Kosovo's UN police force, she
Late Wednesday three Roma gypsies in the village of Mali Alas,
three miles (five kilometres) south of Skulaneva, were killed by an
improvised bomb placed outside their home and probably triggered by
a trip wire, UN police said.
On the same night a 15-year-old ethnic Albanian boy was shot
four times in the chest by unknown gunmen as his father drove him
through the village of Magura, three miles (five kilometres)
southwest of Skulaneva.
The three villages are all in the municipality of Lipljan, one
of the most ethnically-mixed in Kosovo. A profile of the area
released in June by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in
Europe said 84 percent of an estimated population of 74,643 were
ethnic Albanians, 12.5 percent Serbs and two percent Roma.
Since the arrival in June last year of the KFOR multinational
peacekeeping force and the end of a bitter civil war between ethnic
Albanian separatists and Yugoslav forces, Serbian civilians have
often found themselves the victims of revenge attacks.
The most bloody to date was the massacre in July 1999 of 14
Serbs in the village of Gracko, also in Lipljan.
On June 15 this year two Serbs were killed when their car hit a
bomb near the village of Lepina, less than one mile (two kilometres)
from the scene of Saturday's murder.
Kosovo Serbs Fear Assassination by Belgrade Agents
GRACANICA, Aug 7,
2000 -- (Agence France Presse) Moderate Serb leaders in
Kosovo have been warned by a source close to Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic's regime that they could be assassinated, the spokesman for
National Council (SNV) said Sunday.
"The SNV has
received very confidential information from a person close to the
regime in Belgrade," Father Janjic Sava told reporters after a
meeting of the
umbrella group representing Serbian interests in Kosovo.
"It is possible
that Belgrade might organize even assassinations or certain kinds of
attacks on members of the SNV. We still don't know whether it is true
or not," he
Sava, who would
not identify the source in Belgrade, said that the SNV had passed
on details of the warning to Kosovo's UN administration and to the KFOR
multinational peacekeeping force.
"We hope that
something like that will not happen because that would only make the
position of the Serbian people much worse in the eyes of the international
community," Sava said.
"It would make
the position of the Belgrade regime even worse."
Sava's warning came
after 103 delegates from Kosovo's Serbian minority
communities voted unanimously to endorse a declaration signed on July
24 in the
United States by their leaders and leaders of Kosovo's Albanian majority
promoting a democratic, multi-ethnic future in the province.
Members of the SNV
have agreed to take part in Kosovo's interim UN-led
administrations, to the fury of Belgrade and some Kosovo Serb hardliners,
particular those in Northern Mitrovica led by Oliver Ivanovic.
Albanian Group An Enigma In South Serbia
DOBROSIN, Aug 7,
2000 -- (Reuters) Local Albanians in this southern Serbian
village near the boundary with Kosovo see the armed guerrillas among
their defenders against Serb police.
brand them "Albanian terrorists" and say they have attacked
police checkpoints repeatedly this year.
in Kosovo (KFOR), keeping a wary watch from just
over the boundary, say the guerrillas are a threat to security and have
tried to cut
their supply lines.
The rebels themselves
refuse to give their side of the story in Dobrosin, a remote
village which nestles inconspicuously in wooded hills near the Presevo
An Albanian flag
is flying and the Serb police are nowhere to be seen, but
Dobrosin, unlike Kosovo, is still officially under Serbian government
The sight of two
armed men in fatigues on a street corner comes as a reminder of
The pair are clearly
members of the Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac
Liberation Army (UCPMB in Albanian), a mysterious group which has raised
fears of a new Kosovo-style conflict in the mainly Albanian populated
area to the
east of the province.
"It is an insurgent
group inside Serbia," said U.S. Captain Tom Hairgrove,
commander of KFOR's Outpost Sapper on the Kosovo boundary line overlooking
Dobrosin. "My mission up here on this hill is to prevent violence
U.S. TANKS OVERLOOK
To drive home that
message, U.S. tanks and armored personnel carriers are
stationed with their guns pointing towards Serbia. Two Apache helicopters
U.S. soldiers search
men, women and children passing the checkpoint on their
way to and from Dobrosin, where the guerrillas are believed to have
"We are trying
to restrict their (UCPMB's) movements more or less now, to
prevent or slow down the violence," Hairgrove said, looking down
village and the fields around it.
The area of southern
Serbia adjoining Kosovo has seen an upsurge in violence
since the withdrawal last summer of Yugoslav forces from Kosovo, some
to this area.
The UCPMB is named
after three towns in government-controlled Serbia's
Presevo Valley and deliberately echoes the Kosovo Liberation Army, (KLA)
known to Albanians as the UCK, which fought Serb security forces for
before NATO intervened on its side.
say that if the UCPMB, which has been involved in several
sporadic clashes with police, thinks it can draw NATO into a conflict
government-controlled Serbia, it should think again.
that the group had around 60 members in Dobrosin and said
it had increased its activities recently. He underlined that he could
not see what
the Serb police were doing in response to UCPMB activity.
"From my position
I've seen an increased amount of patrolling, I've seen the use
of mortars, outgoing, by the UCPMB, just a general overall increase
operations in the area, all on that side of the provincial boundary,"
Only Serb police
are allowed to patrol the area where Dobrosin lies, in a five-km
(three-mile) buffer zone between territory controlled by the Yugoslav
Kosovo, where tens of thousands of NATO-led troops are based.
Around 50 incidents
have been registered along the boundary in Serbia over the
past year, according to figures published by independent Serb media.
people, mostly Albanians, were killed. More than 20 were wounded, including
REBELS SEEN AT
Locals say members
of the "liberation army", which has pledged to defend the
ethnic Albanian population in the region, were first seen in January
at the funeral
of two woodcutter brothers killed by Serbian police near Dobrosin.
"If the UCPMB
was not here, we would have to flee," said one man in Dobrosin.
He and other villagers denied Serbian allegations that the group was
police checkpoints, saying they were only trying to defend the village.
"We have no
reason to be afraid," said one 10-year-old girl, adding that the
UCPMB was defending them.
Down in the Presevo
Valley a few km (miles) east, Serb police operate several
checkpoints dotted on roads to Kosovo, one of them leading up to Dobrosin
Locals say it is
unsafe to travel on that road from the Presevo Valley to Dobrosin,
which is now safely accessible only from Kosovo.
Most local Albanians
in the area - with the exception of people in
UCPMB-controlled Dobrosin - insist they know nothing about the rebels
they do not support them.
had any contact with them," said Asim Azemi, a teacher in Konculj
village, scene of many recent incidents.
A Western diplomat
said the situation in the Presevo Valley was less antagonistic
than the environment in Kosovo before the 1998-9 conflict, even though
Albanians complain about discrimination, harassment and police beatings.
But, he added, "it
only takes a small group of 'freedom fighters' to cause a
conflict...things escalate easily here."
One Albanian leader
in the area estimated that the UCPMB had around 200
fighters, suggesting it had increased in strength since January as a
result of what
he described as police maltreatment of the local population.
He said some of
the guerrillas were believed to be former KLA fighters, both
from the Presevo Valley and from Kosovo. But he stressed that he had
the Serb mayor of Bujanovac - a municipality which also covers
Dobrosin - dismissed the rebels as former criminals.
"They are not
a big threat," he said in his office in the town hall building,
was damaged in June by one of several bombs planted in the area by unknown
He accused the West
of backing the "terrorists", saying KFOR failed to prevent
them from crossing the boundary.
a Serb investigating judge, said the armed group was also
attacking Albanians. "These terrorists also attack and bother their
loyal to Serbia."
accuse the authorities of routinely blaming "Albanian terrorists"
without producing evidence, suggesting it may be in Belgrade's interest
People in Konculj
expressed their fear of being caught in the middle, some saying
police suspect innocent civilians of being linked to the rebels. Many
fled to Kosovo.
"I cannot even
say who is shooting," said Azemi, the school teacher, referring
sporadic gunshots and mortar fire echoing almost daily from the hills
"We villagers do not want this to happen, but who asks us?"
Kosovo party hit again by violent attack
Aug 7 (AFP) - A member of the
ethnic-Albanian moderate Kosovo Democratic League (LDK) narrowly
escaped injury when he was attacked by gunmen, a UN police spokesman
In the latest in a wave of attacks in the UN-administered
province, Mehmet Gerkinaj, an LDK chief near the northwestern town
of Srbica, was attacked outside his home late Sunday by unidentified
gunmen, spokesman Andriej Stepien told AFP.
The supporter of moderate leader Ibrahim Rugova escaped the
attack with no injuries, police said and an enquiry has begun.
A wave of political violence appears to be sweeping Kosovo in
the run-up to October municipal elections, and LDK members have been
its most frequent victims.
On Saturday another senior member of the LDK -- Kosovo's leading
ethnic Albanian political party -- was found dead 10 days after his
family reported him kidnapped.
On Wednesday last week, unidentified gunmen shot and injured
Sejdi Koci, the leader of the LDK in Srbica, also in northwest
This attack followed a similar shooting the day before which
left Agim Veliu, LDK leader in Podujevo, northeast Kosovo, slightly
In reaction to the wave of violence, Kosovo's UN administration
announced Thursday it was creating a cell of UN officials, police
investigators, peacekeeping troops and OSCE election monitors to
examine the problem of political violence.
The KFOR multinational peacekeeping force also announced last
week that it hoped to send an additional 2,000 troops to Kosovo to
oversee security in the run-up to the poll.
October's elections will be the first fully democratic poll ever
held in Kosovo. Voters will choose local administrations in the
province's 30 municipality.
Polls conducted by the OSCE in the province earlier this year
suggested that the LDK will come out well ahead in voting, with
their nearest rivals likely to be the Democratic Party of Kosovo
(PDK) of Hashim Thaci, the former political leader of the guerrilla
Kosovo Liberation Army.
many doctors, too few patients in Kosovo's only Serb hospital
Yugoslavia, Aug 7 (AFP) - Wards lie empty
and nurses leave an hour before the end of their shifts in the only
hospital in Kosovo that will treat Serbs.
"We've got far more doctors than we need in this public
hospital. We've had to take on internally displaced people because
of pressure from Belgrade who are desperate to keep Serbs in
Kosovo," explains Doctor Mirlan Ivanovic, deputy director of
"We've got to take them on even if we don't need them," admits
Cveta Jaksic, head of nursing, who is no longer even frustrated by
the sight of nurses knocking off for the weekend at Friday
The number of patients has dropped by half in the last year,
while numbers of hospital staff have risen by a third.
Doctor Ivanovic says that from 700 staff before Kosovo's
1998-1999 civil war, there are now a thousand doctors, nurses, care
assistants and technicians working in the hospital where half the
beds remain unoccupied.
The corridors are deserted, many of the wards lie empty, and in
the waiting-rooms the nurses lounge around for up to an hour at a
time smoking and drinking endless cups of Turkish coffee, quietly
despairing of the hospital's hygiene, where, they say not a single
day goes by without a power cut or the water being cut off.
"More than 100,000 workers in the health sector have been driven
out of Kosovo," says Ivanovic, seated in his office beneath a
portrait of the Yugoslav Republic's President Slobodan Milosevic.
Next to the portrait is pinned up a copy of the Hippocratic Oath in
Between June and September 1999, in an effort to keep Serbs in
Kosovo, Milosevic prevented Serb medical personnel from Kosovo from
being employed in the rest of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
"For the first few months, we were basically on forced holiday,"
explains Sinisa Milic, a 33-year-old female anaesthetist, who a year
ago had to leave the Kosovan capital, Pristina, for Nis, in Serbia.
"I fled to Serbia after the war but I just couldn't find work
because of the regulations being laid down by Belgrade," adds Doctor
Srdjan Ivkovic, 36, who before the war worked in Kosovo at the spa
in the town of Glogovac.
"I can't complain," he says, "I earn twice what my colleagues
Serbia earn, about 6,000 dinars (541 dollars)."
"By keeping the Serbs in Mitrovica, we're hoping to get them
back to Pristina as soon as possible," says Radoslav Orlovic, who's
been director of the hospital for 12 years.
"Everybody here is living for the day when they can be citizens
of Pristina again," echoes Tanja Popovic, formerly a doctor in
"Pristina is a little bit like Jerusalem for the Israelis,"
Issue 8, Articles 10-11, 7 August 2000
Monday 7 August
Allegation That Orthodox Priests Blessed Paramilitaries Denied
by Felix Corley,
Keston News Service
Albanian-language newspaper Dita published a group
photo of 22 people in Yugoslav army uniform on 4 July. Among them were
two bearded men, whom the paper identified as the priests of Partes
Gnjilane (Gjilan in Albanian) although the paper did not name them or
give their addresses (which it did give for two other Serbs shown in
photo). Dita's editor-in-chief BLERIM STAVILECI told Keston from
Pristina on 3 August that the men the paper identified as priests were
shown standing next to MILIVOJE JANKOVIC, a commander of the Black
Tigers, a Serbian paramilitary group. 'The pop [priest] of Partes,
together with the commander Milivoje Jankovic -- Mija and the pop of
Gjilan, after atrocities and massacres had been committed, blessed the
criminals and sang psalms to pardon their
sins,' the paper claimed.
Father Sava, a close
aide to Bishop ARTEMIJE of Raska and Prizren, told
Keston, 'The accusations against our priests in Dita's article are
completely false. Our priests from Gnjilane and Partes immediately
issued a statement in which they denied any connection with
paramilitaries and reaffirmed their position against violence. They
that the two persons falsely identified in the photograph published
Dita as our priests are not Serbian Orthodox priests and do not look
like any priest from our diocese. Many of Milosevic's paramilitaries
beards which could allow some Albanians to think that they might have
been priests.' Father Sava added that the photo was unclear, allowing
mistakes in identification.
was adamant. 'The article was written according to
the witnesses and testimonies that our correspondent gathered in
Gjilan,' he told Keston. 'The citizens have testimony in KFOR and UNMIK
police for several days and weeks but the response is as usual: "We
see and verify".' Stavileci claimed that KFOR had failed to take
action over the allegations 'because its mandate is unclear and it
hesitates to undertake such a move toward jailing the suspected war
criminals', while the UNMIK police is 'inefficient and unable to meet
that neither of the accused had contacted Dita to
protest the publication of the photo or the accompanying text. 'If their
reactions would have arrived in our newspaper we would have published
them.' But Father Sava stated that the real priests of Partes and
Gnjilane had made protests to the international authorities. 'Our
priests requested the UN authorities and KFOR to scientifically examine
the photo and prove their claim of innocence.
The bishop supported
his priests and strongly protested against Dita's
Father Sava resents
any suggestion that Orthodox priests endorsed
violence during the interethnic conflict in Kosovo. 'The very idea that
any of our priests would "go with paramilitaries and bless the
is not only wrong but is an outright unsult to our Church which has
times condemned the Milosevic regime, before the war, during the war
after it,' he told Keston.
'On the contrary,
we have examples of our monks and priests who helped
Albanians in their suffering and offered them protection. For example
Decani, where 150 Albanian civilians found refuge in the monastery.
priests in Decani risked their lives to protect their Albanian
As a direct consequence
of its 4 July feature, Dita was fined by the
OSCE's Temporary Media Commissioner in Kosovo, DOUGLAS DAVIDSON, for
publishing the 'clearly identifiable photograph of various individuals,
that included personal details about where two of those individuals
currently reside'. The OSCE declared that this 'breached the regulation
which prohibits the publishing of information which could put an
individual's life or security in danger'. After failing to pay the fine
Dita was ordered closed on 27 July, an order the paper defied.
ROLAND BLESS, the
OSCE spokesman, told Keston from Pristina on 3 August
that the fine was imposed on Dita not just for the publication of the
addresses of the two named individuals, but for the 'entire publication'
of the photo and the article. He added that the 12 July attack made
difference to the decision to impose the fine. He declined comment on
whether the two bearded men identified by the paper as priests had been
involved with Serbian paramilitaries saying, that is a matter for the
Speaking to Keston
by telephone from Pristina on 27 July, GAZMEND PULA,
the chairman of the Kosovo Helsinki Committee (a member of the
Vienna-based International Helsinki Federation), declined to comment
the allegations against the two 'priests'. However, he declared that
Committee believed that any information people have on war crimes
suspects should be delivered to the international administrators in
Kosovo 'in accordance with proper procedure'. 'Coming out with names
addresses amounts to a wanted list,' Pula declared. 'This is dangerous
for individuals and for the rule of law and instigates very dangerous
developments,' an apparent reference to the killing of Topoljski. (END)
Monday 7 August
PRIEST AND TWO STUDENTS WOUNDED IN ATTACK
by Felix Corley,
Keston News Service
On 12 July, a Serbian
Orthodox priest DRAGAN KOJIC and two theology
students identified as ZVONKO and DRAGISA were wounded when their car
was attacked with automatic gunfire while they were travelling on the
Klokot to Vitina road near Gnjilane, which lies in southeast Kosovo.
They were returning from serving the liturgy. Kojic was injured in the
shoulder, while Zvonko and Dragisa suffered leg and kidney injuries
respectively. Also in the car at the time of the attack was Father
Kojic's three-year-old child, who escaped unharmed. The NATO-led KFOR
peacekeeping force said international police found the three wounded
by the side of the road and took them to the Camp Bondsteel US military
base near Urosevac.
The attack was condemned
by local Serbs, the Orthodox Church and
international officials. 'I am not only shocked but deeply depressed
today criminals chose religious men as their targets,' said BERNARD
KOUCHNER, head of Kosovo's United Nations-led administration, in a
statement. 'It is totally unacceptable that this kind of revenge killing
substitute itself for justice.'
ROLAND BLESS, the
OSCE spokesman, declined to comment on the 12 July
attack and whether it was linked to the Dita article, declaring that
attack was the subject of an 'ongoing investigation' by the police.A
statement from the Serbian National Council of Kosovo-Metohija
immediately condemned the attack and linked it to the Dita article of
July in which Serbs from Gnjilane had been named as being responsible
for 'war crimes' (see separate KNS article). The statement added that
the two priests from Gnjilane who the paper claimed had cooperated with
Serbian paramilitary forces were 'completely innocent'. The council
on to demand an urgent investigation into the attack and specific
measures to prevent Albanian language papers from 'rekindling hatred
Father SAVA JANJIC,
a close aide to Bishop ARTEMIJE of Raska and
Prizren, told Beta news agency on 12 July that he had called Dita 'a
mujaheddin newspaper' during sessions of the Transitional Council of
Kosovo because of what he regarded as its public calls for the lynching
of Kosovo Serbs. He demanded that the paper be closed down. However,
his statement to Keston News Service on 3 August, Dita's editor-in-chief
BLERIM STAVILECI rejected any linkage between the publication of the
July article and photo and the 12 July attack on Father Kojic and the
two students. (END)
Copyright (c) 2000
on some of the actions by the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo during
Appeal of Decani
Monks in June 1998
More texts and statements
by the Church and the Serb National Council
Attack on Priest
in Gnjilane Area, July 2000
Issue 2585, July 13, 2000
in the wheat fields
KFOR has rejected
the request of villagers of Staro Gracko to check if there are any landmines
left in their fields with the explanation that this is an expensive
and lengthy operation
By LIDIJA KUJUNDZIC
all Serbs, were found on July 14, 1999 in the woods next to Staro Gracko.
They were murdered by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army while they
were harvesting wheat. Many of them were bound hand and foot and shot
in the nape of the neck. The representatives of the international community
never discovered how their lifeless bodies ended up in the small woods,
and the investigation is still in progress. This year the villagers
of Staro Gracko asked the local KFOR commander to check if there were
any landmines left in their fields. The request was refused.
us that they couldnt check whether there are landmines in the
fields because that is an expensive operation which would require a
lot of time. KFOR offered to watch us during the harvest and they guaranteed
that no one would attack us while we were harvesting, says Momir
Cankovic of Staro Gracko and added: I told them to get a harvester
themselves and come gather our wheat if they are sure there are no landmines
in the fields.
Crosses for Serbs
These fears are
shared by the villagers in Gracanica and in the villages surrounding
Lipljan. Maybe there are no landmines in our fields, says
Petar Mihajlovic of Gracanica, but God only knows what fell from
the sky here during the time of the bombing and what the Shiptars left
In Kosovo NATO also
used bombs filled with depleted uranium but representatives of the international
community have not seriously investigated the level of contamination
of the land and water in places where these bombs fell, nor the precise
locations where the depleted uranium bombs were dropped.
In sector South
where the Germans are in command many such bombs fell, especially in
villages near Prizren, and this was later documented in the reports
of some international organizations which came to Kosovo and Metohija.
However, on the
map of the sector produced the information center of the
multinational brigade South, only the areas where there are still unexploded
landmines are marked. It is interesting that there are mines, if one
is to believe KFORs map, in only two places along the border with
Albania and Macedonia, even though Lieutenant Colonel Peter Vocnijak,
the head of the information service of the multinational brigade South
during a conversation with this NIN reporter did not deny the fact that
the border of Kosovo with Albania and Macedonia is completely open,
one reason being that the entire length of the border is mined.
you with quality bombing, said Lieutenant Colonel Vocnijak to
this NIN reporter in Prizren. When asked whether it was true that the
Germans had drawn crosses on the houses of the Serbs who remain in Prizren
and told this was reminiscent of the Nazis who during the 1930s
drew Stars of David on businesses and houses belonging to Jews, Lieutenant
Colonel Vocnijak did not respond directly: It is a mistake to
compare the Serbs in Kosovo with the Jews. We are here to protect the
Serbs and the others, and the Nazis killed the Jews.
NIN reporter did see a cross in Prizren.
This NIN reporter
does not know who drew it but remembered it on the facade of a house
close to a former furniture store, drawn in black oil paint.
KFOR would not allow
this NIN reporter to see for herself whether all three bunkers - weapons
and explosive storage facilities - near Klecka were actually destroyed.
In the Radio-Television building where the multinational brigade Center
is based, British Air Force lieutenant Tim Sorrel-Cook (sp?) said:
very sorry but that just wont be possible. After our operation,
the situation is such that the local population is not well-disposed
toward us. Major Plant cannot guarantee your security. When this
reporter mentioned that she wasnt safe anywhere in Kosovo and
that she was prepared to take a risk in order to personally convince
herself of the efficiency of the most recent KFOR confiscation and destruction
of weapons in Kosovo and Metohija, during which British soldiers, primarily,
got the glory, Lieutenant Sorrel said:
Your own security
is not the only issue. We are also responsible for the lives of our
own soldiers. We also have consider, you must understand, the consequences
of having a Serb reporter in Klecka.
Bunkers of Klecka
Sorrel kindly offered this NIN reporter the possibility of viewing KFORs
video material on the operation in Klecka so that she could
have some idea of the course of the operation and the quantity of weapons
confiscated. In order to get a copy of this video for herself, NINs
reporter had to search the nearby open-air market with a fine-toothed
comb and purchase a video cassette.
Video on Operation
is an amateur production, poorly shot, from which the location of the
bunkers cannot be determined. The first part of the video was shot at
night and in a manner which makes it impossible to determine whether
the bunker is above or below ground. In the room, which
was even wired with electricity, there were all sorts of things: from
old Mausers (the precursor of the M-48 rifle) to trunks of 120 millimeter
grenades for mortars. In front of the entrance, which can barely be
discerned among some kind of nylon screens, a BBC reporter interviewed
the British officers and junior officers who discovered the bunker.
The second part
of the video is devoted to the arrival of Dr. Bernard Kouchner, the
special envoy of the secretary general of the United Nations for Kosovo
and Meothija, who together with Russian officers was present at the
destruction of the weapons in Klecka. On that day, two antitank mines
and approximately two kilograms of explosive were destroyed in Klecka
(this is clearly visible on the video). The explosion was strictly
controlled. The video does not show Dr. Kouchner visiting the
destroyed bunker. The third part of the video material shows how much
and what kinds of weapons were confiscated. An impressive quantity of
mines, explosives, rifle grenades of all calibers, rifles, automatic
rifles, nonrecoiling cannon... of German, Yugoslav and Chinese manufacture.
No matter how significant
the operation of KFOR in Klecka was, first and foremost
for the international community which is still not prepared to face
its ever more obvious mistakes, the situation in Kosovo and Metohija
will not truly begin to improve until full control is established on
the border with Albania and Macedonia and until those bunkers are truly
destroyed. This assumption was confirmed by Lieutenant Colonel Vocnijak
himself: We are all aware that in two months Klecka will be full
Members of the British
KFOR contingent were not able to escort this NIN reporter to Decani
where the Albanians and the monks from the monastery have been waging
a war for weeks regarding the building of a water tower on the estate
of the Decani Monastery and the cutting down of a centuries-old pine
All of our
vehicles are being repaired, was all that the KFOR officer on
duty had to say.
KLA Members Face War Crimes Probe
THE HAGUE, Aug 9,
2000 -- (Reuters) Several members of the former Kosovo
Liberation Army face investigation by the UN war crimes tribunal for
atrocities committed during NATO's 78-day bombing campaign last year.
Carla del Ponte,
a former Swiss attorney general who took over as the UN's main
prosecutor nearly a year ago, said in an interview on Tuesday that investigators
were looking at five suspected atrocity locations in the Serbian province.
are under way where the victims are Serbs," Del Ponte told
Reuters Video News.
She declined to
name those who faced the probe and did not give any indications
as to which locations were being investigated. But she said the probe
individuals and not the former guerrilla organization as a whole.
is into members of the KLA suspected of committing crimes,"
she said, adding that the investigation would lead as high up the chain
as was necessary.
The vast majority
of war crimes committed in Kosovo, where up to 10,000 people
died, were carried out by the ethnic Serb police and paramilitaries
ethnic Albanian minority.
are under way and we hope to end them as soon as possible,"
Del Ponte said. But she was unable to say whether the probes would be
completed ahead of planned local elections due in the province on October
The KLA was disarmed
and disbanded last September as part of the cease-fire
agreement that put an end to the bloody conflict.
Some former KLA
members are standing in the polls and there has been some
violence in the run-up to voting.
part of Serbia and Yugoslavia, Kosovo has become a de facto
international protectorate run by the UN backed by NATO-led peacekeepers.
Del Ponte said one
of the problems investigators faced in Kosovo was that many
of the alleged Serb victims had fled the province since NATO-led troops
in June 1999.
"We are trying
to persuade the Serbs to let our investigators in," she said.
Serbia, unlike its
fellow Yugoslav republic of Montenegro, does not recognize the
authority of the Hague-based tribunal.
THE GLOBE AND
MAIL, Wednesday, August 9, 2000
in Kosovo: in bed with a scorpion
The KLA is running
drugs and refueling conflict. No wonder even innocent
tourists can get arrested
The arrest of two
Canadians and two Britons in Montenegro last week has
caused the ire of the West to be directed, once again, against Serb
leader Slobodan Milosevic. But, as Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd
Axworthy decries his "thug" tactics, it is well to remember
is a dark side to NATO's ally in Kosovo as well. And peacekeeping forces
could soon be faced with enemies on two fronts if they hope to maintain
order in the Balkans.
As early as March
of 1999, The Times of London reported links between
the KLA and narcotics trafficking. In the same month, the ITAR-Tass
agency reported that the chief of the Russian Armed Forces, General
Anatoly Kvashnin, had sent a letter to the Supreme Commander of NATO
forces in Europe, General Wesley Clark and to the chairman of the NATO
Military Committee, Klaus Naumann, detailing the involvement of "Kosovo
terrorists" in the narcotics trade in Europe. The letter outlined
"where, what, how, and why" of the KLA drug business. By ignoring
warnings, NATO had created a formula for failure in Kosovo.
NATO planners chose
to ignore this information in their haste to win
their "just war." A year after NATO intervention in Kosovo,
has failed to meet its key objective of keeping the peace. Kosovo has
degraded to the point where crime, illegal weapons and drug trafficking
(Kosovo Force) troops are now forced to defend
themselves against violent armed aggression from ethnic Albanians. NATO
troops were never intended to police a hostile population and, least
all, deal with international drug and arms smuggling. As Army
Brigadier-General John Craddock noted in late June of 1999, after U.S.
troops had for the first time been forced to fire on hostile ethnic
Albanians, "We have become the targets of violent acts." Not
role NATO envisioned.
In an effort to
end the threat of KLA attacks against NATO forces, in
June of this year, U.S. troops led a series of raids against
ethnic-Albanian strongholds to seize arms caches. A senior Pentagon
official had reported that the situation in Kosovo was deteriorating
rapidly, and that U.S. troops could be forced into armed conflict with
the Albanian guerrillas. Clearly, if NATO cannot control the KLA and
drug trade there will be no peace to keep in Kosovo.
The KLA has bloomed
in the NATO/UN sponsored power vacuum due to an
ineffective, or nonexistent, plan for the development of a governmental
structure in Kosovo. This resurgence has allowed key KLA leaders to
become power brokers in the region. Hashim Thaci, the leader of the
KLA's political wing, has become the key contact point for NATO, the
and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, making
the most important ethnic-Albanian politician in Kosovo. In turn, the
former commander of the KLA's military wing, Agim Ceku, commands the
Kosovo Protection Corps, which is mainly comprised of former KLA
fighters. Financing for these activities comes from heroin trafficking.
The KLA is heavily
involved in the illicit Balkan drug trade, better
known as the Balkan Route. Balkan drug organizations helped the KLA
funnel arms and cash into Kosovo for the continuing guerrilla war
against Belgrade. With the tacit support of the KLA and its leadership,
Kosovo has become the primary conduit for heroin trafficking from
Afghanistan via Turkey and the Balkans into Western Europe. Clearly,
those organized-crime elements who helped the KLA now want to cash in
their previous good will.
organizations estimate that, every month, two to six
tonnes of heroin, worth twelve times its weight in gold, moves through
Turkey toward Eastern Europe. This route originates in the Taliban-run
opium fields of Afghanistan and is worth an estimated $400-billion
(U.S.) a year. Kosovars (ethnic Albanians from Kosovo) now dominate
Balkan Route which supplies 80 per cent of Europe's heroin. Interpol
figures indicate that Albanian speakers represent approximately 1 per
cent of Europe's population, yet in 1997 they made up 14 per cent of
Europeans arrested for heroin smuggling, and on average they carried
substantially larger quantities of the drug.
Besides cash, the
Balkan Route also acts as conduit for illegal arms to
the KLA. Arms are either smuggled in directly or money earned from the
illicit drug trade is used to purchase weapons in Albania, Bosnia,
Croatia, Cyprus, Italy, Montenegro, Switzerland and Turkey. NATO has
reported that weapons smuggled into Kosovo included: anti-aircraft
missiles, assault rifles, sniper rifles, shotguns, grenade launchers,
mortars, ammunition, antipersonnel mines and infrared night-vision gear.
In fact, regardless
of their guilt or innocence on terrorism charges,
the detained Canadians likely ran afoul of increased Serbian border
surveillance aimed at deterring these activities.
The greatest irony
of this situation is that the U.S. government has
been well aware of the Balkan Route and the KLA connection for some
years. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency reported in 1998 that
ethnic-Albanian organizations in Kosovo are "second only to Turkish
gangs as the predominant heroin smugglers along the Balkan route."
and the United States ignored this for the political expediency of the
war in Kosovo.
Kosovo never represented
a traditional UN peacekeeping scenario for
NATO. The role was more peace enforcement. Yet NATO personnel are simply
not equipped and trained to handle the policing of the drug trade that
is fuelling the violence in Kosovo.
The presence of
NATO forces has created a clear social divide between
Serb and Kosovar, which has exacerbated the ethnic violence. The ethnic
violence is also escalating as the KLA moves for independence, as
indicated by its rearmament. Rearmament has been made possible due to
the ethnic-Albanian control of the Balkan Route. KFOR has become caught
in a snare where it is being forced to fight all sides in the conflict;
thus its role as peace enforcer has been lost and it has merely become
another combatant in Kosovo.
So NATO is left
with only one realistic option -- it must militarily
face down the KLA to stop the rearmament process and in turn shut down
the drug trafficking that is not just affecting Kosovo, but all of
Europe. NATO, the saviour, may be forced to become the oppressor in
Sunil Ram is a professor
of Balkan military history at the American Military University in Virginia
and an associate of the Institute for UN and International Affairs.
He wrote a training program in peacekeeping operations titled Peacekeeping
in the Former Yugoslavia: From The Dayton Accord to Kosovo.
August 10, 2000
by Doug Bandow
The war in Kosovo
ended more than a year ago, but the
Clinton administration rarely trumpets its "triumph."
Conditions in the territory continue to deteriorate and
America could eventually find itself fighting its supposed
allies, the ethnic Albanians.
will be much harder to get out than it
was to get in. Washington should turn Kosovo over to the
Europeans, as part of their European Security and Defense
The attempt to preserve
a multilateral Kosovo is dead:
Most ethnic Serbs, an estimated 250,000 to 260,000, have
fled. Ethnic Albanians have also kicked out Gypsies, Jews
and even non-Albanian Muslims.
Even more problematic
is the attempt to preclude an
independent Kosovo. Garrison commander Gen. Klaus
Reinhardt observed earlier this year: "When NATO came
into Kosovo, we were only supposed to fight the Yugoslav
army if they came back uninvited. Now we're finding we
have to fight the Albanians."
That prospect will
only strengthen critics of current
policy. It took opposition from both President Clinton and
Republican presidential nominee George Bush to narrowly
defeat congressional attempts to withdraw U.S. forces from
No amount of administration
pressure is likely to bar the
door if Americans end up as casualties in Kosovo. The
General Accounting Office recently warned of a "volatile"
situation, and that "many difficult political, social and other
issues remain unresolved."
Even more ominous,
warns the British intelligence firm
Jane's: "It is virtually inevitable that there will be further
casualties among KFOR troops - a prospect, which raises
the specter of a Somalia-style fiasco in which the
peacekeepers become themselves the targets."
Imagine having to
explain to Americans why their sons
and husbands were battling - and dying at the hands of -
the people the United States came to protect. Public support
for the mission would evaporate.
Europe is also at
risk. If CNN begins bringing casualties
into American homes, the issue, as in Somalia, will not be
whether the forces come home, but how quickly they come
home. Such a precipitous withdrawal would leave the
European Union to pick up the pieces.
questions are likely to be raised. Why
should Washington continue to bail out countries unwilling
to defend their own interests? Why should U.S. taxpayers
indirectly subsidize bloated European welfare states? Who
needs an American-dominated NATO in a world without the
Those queries should
be asked irrespective of who has
how many troops in the Balkans. But the debate will be far
uglier if conducted while Washington is rushing,
Somalia-style, to bring home American soldiers.
should take over KFOR. Command has
already devolved on the Eurocorps, providing the
multinational unit with its first significant operational
commitment. The Europeans should now provide all of
KFOR's Western troops. With nearly 3 million soldiers,
Europe is capable of supplying KFOR's full complement of
45,700, 7,000 of whom are Americans.
Indeed, the EU could
easily replace the 6,400 other
American troops on duty elsewhere in the Balkans,
principally in Bosnia.
for reducing the U.S. burden is obvious
enough. Washington spends 40 percent more than Europe
on defense, despite possessing a smaller GDP and
population. The Europeans lag behind the United States on
almost every military measure; most significant is the
disparity in fighting power, evident in Europe's dismal
performance during the war against Serbia.
The Europeans, too,
would gain. Their security would no
longer be dependent on potentially fickle American
They could act if
Washington chose not to - as
Australia did in East Timor. Moreover, EU members would
no longer be so easily pushed into military actions that they
At the same time,
ESDI would likely improve relations
between the United States and Europe. President Clinton
has defended the Europeans from charges that they were
abdicating their responsibilities, but with allied military
commitment continuing to slide - German officials predict
defense expenditures will soon fall to little above 1 percent
of GDP, one-third American levels - the Europeans are
shamelessly taking advantage of Washington's generosity.
is likely to spread in the United
States, given Europe's willingness to hand out blank checks
on America's military account. European Commission
President Romano Prodi has suggested that the EU offer
security guarantees to non-NATO EU members.
burden would inevitably fall on
America. As would protection of ever-more-distant NATO
members - nine Central and East European countries have
requested to be admitted into the alliance in 2002.
have so often cried wolf about burden
sharing that the Europeans don't much listen anymore. But,
growing congressional criticism indicates American
patience is not boundless.
The most likely
catalyst for a precipitous U.S. reaction is
Kosovo. Which seems inevitable, unless the Europeans
take over responsibility for KFOR. Before the first U.S.
casualty comes home from Kosovo.
Doug Bandow is a
senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
NEW YORK TIMES
August 11, 2000
Serbian Flock Scattered, the Priest Reflects
By STEVEN ERLANGER
KOSOVO POLJE, Kosovo
-- The Rev. Radivoje Panic has had more
than his share of parishes.
He lived in Pristina,
the Kosovo capital, for
nearly 10 years, and often gave sermons at
a small church on Taslixhe hill. A witness to
terror by his own Serbs, humiliated by his
inability to stop the expulsion of Albanians
from Pristina, he found himself expelled by them in turn.
He was assigned
to a church here in Kosovo Polje, a largely Serbian
town a few miles southwest of Pristina, but it was badly damaged by
hand grenades a year ago, despite the British troops nearby. About a
month ago it was attacked again, reduced to rubble by dynamite in a
large explosion, the third church destroyed in six weeks.
Now Father Panic
serves at the last remaining church in Kosovo Polje,
the Church of St. Nicholas, which is surrounded by barbed wire and
patrolled by troops. It's a bizarre life, and oddly lonely. However
religious symbols have been for Serbian nationalism and identity, neither
the Serbs nor the Albanians are especially devout after so many years
Communism. Not many Serbs come to church -- mostly the old and
those who want to light candles for the dead.
Even on June 28,
the anniversary of the famous 1389 battle that marked
the loss of this province to the Ottoman Turks for 500 years, only 11
people came here to worship. More surprising, only 70-odd came to
mark the event at the early 14th-century monastery at nearby Gracanica.
Services there -- under the eyes of NATO soldiers, who to some Serbs
are the new Ottomans -- were conducted by Patriarch Pavle, the head
the entire Serbian Orthodox Church, and by Bishop Artemije, the
church's leader in Kosovo.
At least 8,000 Serbs
live around Gracanica, but even on such a symbolic
day, sighed the Rev. Sava Janjic, the bishop's aide and spokesman, "you
could see the empty chairs."
Father Panic, who
describes himself as a simple priest, tries to see the
situation as a whole. "This is the tragedy of all of us, Serbs
Albanians," he said. "There's no way to justify what happened
improve on it. With the war and the bombing, the Albanians were pushed
to leave the cities, towns and villages, and after the bombing stopped,
Serbs were pushed to leave."
He remained in Pristina
throughout the war. "To be frank," he said, "I
didn't see anyone personally being expelled from their apartments and
houses, but I did see many Albanians leaving with their goods. I asked
people why they were leaving, and they said that a lot of people were
being pushed out of the apartments and houses by Serbs with guns, and
that they were afraid this would happen to them."
There were a lot
of armed Serbian police officers, he said, standing guard
and guiding those who were leaving.
And what did he
He looked away,
out the window, toward the barbed wire. "I remember
one instance, when we tried to explain to the police that they were
making a mistake, that this Albanian was a good man, that we knew him.
We tried at least individually to protect him. But this cop told me
out of there, that this was not my business."
He paused again,
played with a pencil. "Individually and collectively we
have responsibility," he said slowly. "But you can't punish
on collective guilt. What is happening now is not the responsibility
the Albanian people. I woke up one morning to see a large group of
Albanians leaving Pristina. How? Why? Could someone stop that? I
explained one case. Milosevic's propaganda did the worst things here
and still does today."
The Serbian Orthodox
Church, which broke with President Slobodan
Milosevic over his failures in Bosnia, and which calls for his resignation,
was clear in its attitude toward the war in Kosovo, Father Panic said.
The church opposed NATO's bombing, but it also opposed the wrong
done to Kosovo's Albanians, the murders and expulsions.
Father Sava, the
bishop's aide, who often comes here to get a better
Internet connection on the church's telephone, says that the church
have broken with Mr. Milosevic sooner, and that many priests became
too caught up in the nationalist fervor over Bosnia, with some of them
photographed atop advancing tanks. "And too many others were silent,"
Father Sava said.
He and Bishop Artemije
are regarded as traitors by Belgrade -- and by
some Kosovo Serbs -- for working politically with Washington and the
United Nations civilian leader here, Bernard Kouchner, to try to increase
security for Serbs and allow more of them to return. The church
leadership has also expressed regret and sorrow for Serbian actions
But its apologies
to Albanians, and its call for tolerance and forgiveness,
ring hollow in Albanian ears, and many Serbs here still seem unable
acknowledge what was done in their name or even by their neighbors.
"The war happened,
and there was a lot of anger on both sides," Father
Panic said. "Evil things happened to ordinary Albanians, too, that's
tragedy. But the peace has been signed. What happened, happened.
There were 60,000 Serbs in Pristina, and now there are 238. But life
must go on. And today I'm occupied mostly with the problems of simple
people, who did no evil to anyone. The ones who did the evil have left."
After the war last
summer, Father Panic's apartment was robbed many
times and his car stolen. "There was no longer any way for me to
Pristina," he said. "So in September, I left Pristina forever
On Taslixhe hill
in Pristina, the church where Father Panic once
preached, in the once-mixed neighborhood where he once lived, is
guarded around the clock by the Royal Fusiliers, with their trademark
feathers of red and white shooting out of their caps. The church is
but there are few Serbs left to use it; the soldiers, who keep watch
a sandbag shelter 24 hours a day, in all weather, are bored to tears.
the minute they leave, they know, the church will be vandalized and
destroyed, as some 80 others have been.
They have two dogs,
mongrels, that keep them company. One they have
named NATO and the other Unmik, the acronym for the United Nations
Mission in Kosovo, which runs civilian life here. "NATO barks at
cars," a soldier said, laughing. "And Unmik sleeps."
August 14, 2000
At Orthodox cemetery
in southern part of Kosovska Mitrovica
500 gravestones destroyed
(Beta) - At the Orthodox cemetery in the southern part of
Kosovska Mitrovica, approximately 500 gravestones have been destroyed
Serbs who visited the southern, Albanian part of the city yesterday
accompaniment told Beta Agency. A group of approximately 120 Serbs visited
Orthodox cemetery in the southern, Albanian part of the city for the
since June and saw that approximately 500 monuments and plates were
June, when the Serbs last visited this cemetery in an organized fashion,
approximately 200 gravestones were damaged. Copper lettering had been
individual inscriptions on the gravestones, as well as several bronze
the Serbs who visited the cemetery.
CLEANSING CONTINUES IN UN-RULED KOSOVO, UNDER THE EYE OF THE INTERNATIONAL
webplaced: August 7, 2000
Press release -
Pristina/Brussels, August 7, 2000 - More than one year
since the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and Kosovo Force
(KFOR) took on the responsibility for the civil and military
administration, a significant number of people there still live in a
state of extreme insecurity.
The civilian populations
of different ethnic groups are being terrorised
by constant and organised acts of violence which target them
specifically. These acts of terror include killings, drive-by shootings,
hand-grenade attacks, verbal abuse, threats, robbery and black mail.
These acts have forced more and more people to flee their homes.
The Belgian teams
of the international medical relief agency Médecins
Sans Frontières (MSF), in charge of medical and mental health
in the enclaves, are eyewitnesses to the daily harassment and terror
against the Serb minorities in Vushtrri/Vuãitrn and Skenderaj/Srbica
well as the Albanian minority in North Mitrovica. This ongoing violence
is resulting in a forced ethnic homogenisation.
MSF refuses to be
either a passive accomplice to this process or remain
silent about the lack of efficient action by the international
MSF questions the
appropriateness of humanitarian medical and
psychological assistance when, in the presence of internationally
mandated protection forces, the fundamental rights of people are being
The Belgian section
of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has decided to
call back its teams and to stop its present operations in the Kosovar
enclaves. The humanitarian organisation refuses to continue its
operations on behalf of the ethnic minorities in a context where basic
protection for these populations is not being guaranteed by the military
and civilian administration of Kosovo.
MSF can no longer
tolerate the serious and continuous deterioration of
living conditions of the ethnic minorities in Kosovo.
MSF has been working
in Kosovo since 1993. Since June 2000, MSF medical
teams have been providing home-based care to Kosovar-Albanian,
Kosovar-Bosnian and Kosovar-Turkish families in several areas of North
Mitrovica. Team members have documented numerous cases of physical
threats and acts of intimidation. MSF teams in the Serb enclaves of
Vushtrri/Vuãitrn and Skenderaj/Srbica districts have also documented
violent harassment which the Serb habitants of various regions are
MSF has been
working in Kosovo since 1993.
Since June 2000,
MSF medical teams have been providing home-based care
to Kosovar-Albanian, Kosovar-Bosnian and Kosovar-Turkish families in
several areas of North Mitrovica. Team members have documented numerous
cases of physical threats and acts of intimidation.
MSF teams in the
Serb enclaves of the Vushtrri/Vuãitrn and
Skenderaj/Srbica districts have also documented the violent harassment
which the Serb habitants of various regions are subjected.
'has failed Kosovo minorities'
Jennings in Pristina
17 August 2000
The inability of
the United Nations and Nato in Kosovo to
ensure security for ethnic minorities was slammed yesterday
by the very humanitarian organisation that was co-founded by
Dr Bernard Kouchner, the UN's civil administrator in the
the president of the international branch of
Médecins sans Frontières, (MSF) the leading international
emergency medical aid organisation, criticised as "ineffective"
the efforts by Nato peacekeepers and UN civilian police to
ensure protection and security for ethnic minorities living in
enclaves in Kosovo.
of the international community in Kosovo is
ineffective," said Dr Orbinski. "There is no true environment
security, there exists a climate of impunity. There has been no
systematic and effective response to violence."
With daily incidences
of violence, harassment, arson and
intimidation against Kosovo's predominantly Serb minorities,
MSF said that there had been no proactive response from the
UN and NATO's 43,000-strong Kosovo mission, or K-FOR, to
create a climate where people feel secure.
"From a medical
perspective, we couldn't remain providing
medical care for people whose most significant complaint is
profound and legitimate fear," he said.
Dr Orbinski's criticisms
of the UN and Nato mission came as
reinforcement to a decision taken last week by MSF's Belgian
section to suspend operations in Serbian enclaves in the north
The harsh critique
from MSF, awarded the Nobel peace prize in
1999, is likely to provoke an already embattled Bernard
Kouchner, who on Sunday announced that his mandate as civil
administrator had been extended until July 2001.
"MSF and Bernard
Kouchner split over differences of approach
to humanitarian action," said Dr Orbinski. "He's taken a political
path, we've taken a humanitarian one."
Dr Kouchner split
from the Red Cross in Biafra in the early
Seventies to found MSF.
A UN spokeswoman,
Susan Manuel, said: "The
preponderance of Nato troops in Kosovo is deployed in the
protection of minorities. We need groups like MSF to assist
people in enclaves."
More than 200,000
Serbs have fled ethnic Albanian reprisals in
Kosovo since Nato and the UN entered the province in June
last year to put an end to Serb oppression of Kosovan
* Seven Belgian
peacekeepers were taken prisoner on the
Kosovo border by Serb police and held for 15 hours on
Tuesday, the Belgian army said yesterday.
Two Serb police
officers stopped the Belgian patrol as it
accompanied a UN vehicle, saying it had strayed over the
security boundary between Kosovo and Serb-controlled
territory, the Belgian army spokesman, Major Jacques De
killings 'exaggerated' by west
Claims of up to
100,000 ethnic Albanians massacred in Kosovo
revised to under 3,000 as exhumations near end
Friday August 18,
The final toll of
civilians confirmed massacred by Yugoslav forces in Kosovo is
likely to be under 3,000, far short of the numbers claimed by Nato governments
during last year's controversial air strikes on Yugoslavia.
As war crimes experts
from Britain and other countries prepare to wind down the
exhumation of hundreds of graves in Kosovo on behalf of the UN's International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague, officials
they have not borne out the worst wartime reports. These were given
refugees and repeated by western government spokesmen during the
campaign. They talked of indiscriminate killings and as many as 100,000
civilians missing or taken out of refugee columns by the Serbs.
The fact that far
fewer Kosovo Albanians were massacred than suggested by
Nato will raise sharp questions about the organisation's handling of
and its information strategy.
yesterday stressed that the new details should not
obscure the fact that the major war crime in the tribunal's indictment
Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, and four other Serb officials
ethnic cleansing of Kosovo and forced deportation of hundreds of thousands
is did we successfully pre-empt or not," Mark Laity, the acting
spokesman, said last night. "I think the evidence shows we did.
We would rather
be criticised for overestimating the numbers who died than for failing
pre-empt. Any objective analysis would say there was a clear crisis.
indiscriminate killing. There were attempts to clear hundreds of thousands
people out of their homes."
When Yugoslav forces
withdrew from Kosovo in June last year, Nato spokesmen
estimated that the Serbs had killed at least 10,000 civilians. While
bombing was under way William Cohen, the US defence secretary, announced
that 100,000 Kosovo Albanian men of military age were missing after
taken from columns of families being deported to Albania and Macedonia.
"They may have been murdered," he said. The fear was they
might share the
fate of the men who were separated from their wives and children and
executed when Serb forces overran the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia.
But while some 7,000
Bosnian Muslims died in the week-long Srebrenica
massacre in 1995, less than 3,000 Kosovo Albanian murder victims have
discovered in the whole of Kosovo. "The final number of bodies
be less than 10,000 and probably more accurately determined as between
and three thousand," Paul Risley, the Hague tribunal's press spokesman,
In three months
of digging this summer, the tribunal's international forensic
experts found 680 bodies at 150 sites. This was in addition to the 2,108
found at 195 sites last year before exhumations were called off because
winter frosts. "By October we expect to have enough evidence to
exhumations by foreign teams, and they will not be necessary next year,"
Although the tribunal
has received reports of another 350 suspected grave sites,
it believes the cost and effort of uncovering them would not be justified.
suspicious mounds or patches of rough earth in fields where villagers
foul stench turned out to contain dead animals or to be empty.
When the tribunal's
teams reached Kosovo last summer, shortly after the
international peacekeepers, they were given reports of 11,334 people
graves, but the results of its exhumations fall well short of that number.
In a few
cases, such as the Trepca mine where hundreds of bodies were alleged
been flung down shafts or incinerated, they found nothing at all.
The tribunal's indictment
of President Milosevic includes the charge that during
Nato's bombing campaign Serb police shot 105 ethnic Albanian men and
near the village of Mala Krusa in western Kosovo. Witnesses claimed
piled on the bodies and set alight. Tribunal experts believe the remains
have been tampered with later, since the bones of only a few people
The exhumation of
less than 3,000 bodies is sure to add fuel to those who say
Nato's intervention against Yugoslavia was not "humanitarian"
and that it had
other motives such as maintaining its credibility in a post-cold war
Others say Nato's air strikes revealed a grotesque double standard since
governments did nothing when hundreds of thousands were being massacred
Carla del Ponte,
the tribunal's chief prosecutor, told the UN security council:
"Our task is not to prepare a complete list of war casualties.
task is to gather evidence relevant to criminal charges."
Evidence of the
forced deportation of hundreds of thousands of people was
overwhelming before the tribunal gained access to Kosovo but the
exhumations are aimed at finding evidence for the charges of mass murder.
is to link forensic evidence to particular units of the
police and army operating in particular parts of Kosovo. It wasn't a
case of rogue
units. The Serbian police state was fully involved," Mr Risley
said. But officials will
not say how many of the 2,788 bodies exhumed show clear signs of being
summary execution such as being shot in the head from close range.
No Nato government
has sought to produce a definitive total of murdered
ethnic Albanian civilians since the Serb offensives began in March 1998,
year before the bombing. "No one is interested," complained
international official in Kosovo involved in helping victims' families.
doesn't want to admit the damage wasn't as extensive as it said. Local
Albanian politicians have the same motive. If you don't have the true
you can exploit the issue."
Serb Children Wounded In Kosovo Grenade Attack
PRISTINA, Aug 19,
2000 -- (Reuters) Nine children were injured in a drive-by
grenade attack on a Serb enclave in Kosovo on Friday night, the NATO-led
peacekeeping force said.
The attackers threw
two grenades at a basketball court in the Obilic area, north of
the capital Pristina, at around 7:50 p.m. (1750 GMT), a spokesman for
British-led central military sector said.
nine injuries. I believe they were all children," Flight Lieutenant
Serrell-Cooke said. "All of them were minor injuries."
A crowd of around
100 Serbs gathered to protest against the attack in the village of
Crkvene Vodice and express anger that KFOR and United Nations police
Some members of
the crowd threw stones, damaging several UN vehicles, a UN
The number of protesters
declined later in the night, Serrell-Cooke said.
The wounded children,
aged between five and 15, were taken to hospital for
treatment but then allowed home for the night, U.N. officials said.
Some were likely
to return for more treatment on Saturday.
The attack came
on the same day as a bomb blast at a building in central Pristina
which houses the offices of Serbian authorities and political parties
ethnic groups. Two people were slightly hurt in that attack.
took over responsibility for Kosovo in June last year after
NATO's bombing campaign to end Serb repression of the province's ethnic
Since then, however,
NATO and the UN have struggled to cope with continuing
violence, some of it between ethnic groups and some inflicted by criminals
SNC INfo Service:
SERB TEENAGERS WOUNDED WHILE PLAYING BASKETBALL
confirmed on Friday evening that in Crkvene Vodice
village, 10 km west from Pristina nine Serb teenagers (up to 15 years
old) were wounded. According to the British KFOR report two grenades
were thrown from one unindentified vehicle around 19.50 on a basketball
playground where the Serb children were playing.
According to the
report of local Serb sources the wounded children are:
Djordje Djordjevic, Vidosava Djordjevic, Vladimir Vojinovic, Bojan
Jovic, Tijana Jovovic, Danijela Stevic, Tamara Markovic, Olivera
Nikolic. The name of the ninth teenager is still not known. The children
were immediately transfered to Kosovo Polje hospital. According to the
witnessess the grenades were thrown from an Opel Vectra
car with no
registration plates only 20 meters form the nearest KFOR check point.
According to the local sources the vehicle with the attackers managed
disappear on the road towards the neighboring Albanian village of
Leskovcic. The explosions were so strong that according to the local
Serb witnesses two UNMIK police vehicles were damaged, one KFOR
landrover and three private cars.
Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren
19 August 2000
SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH DESTROYED IN KOSOVO
The Orthodox Diocese
of Raska and Prizren has just received that the Serb Orthodox Church
of the Holy Trinity was destroyed near Vucitrn in the village of Velika
Reka. The church was vandalized and burned from inside last summer and
now it is finally levelled to the ground. The church was built in 1997.
The first information which were received were about the church of St.
Eliah in Vucitrn but this church is still standing although it remains
vandalized and partly burned.
So far the church
was guarded by the KFOR soldiers from the United Arabian Emirates. It
was also in their area of responsibility that on January 30 the Serb
Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas was blown up in the nearby deserted
Serb village of Banjska.
The Serbian Orthodox
Church strongly condemning this barbarian act of the ethnic Albanian
extremists and requests from KFOR to conduct immediate investigation
and bring the perpertrators to the justice.
Diocese of Raska and Prizren
Saturday, 19 August, 2000, 08:32 GMT 09:32 UK
children attacked in Kosovo
on guard after Friday's attacks
Nine Serb children
have been injured in a grenade
attack in Kosovo.
A spokesman for
the international peacekeeping force,
K-For, said two grenades were thrown on Friday from a
passing car onto a basketball court in the village of
Crkvena Vodica, 10km (seven miles) north of the
The children, who
were lightly wounded, were taken to a
Russian military hospital in the nearby town of Kosovo
Polje, and later sent home.
Dozens of local
people shouted angrily at K-For troops
when they arrived to investigate the incident, which a
K-For spokesman described as "particularly cowardly".
'Attack on Yugoslav
Earlier on Friday,
an explosion went off in Pristina
behind a building run by the European security
organisation, the OSCE.
It damaged the offices
of Serb, ethnic Albanian and
other political parties housed there, and injured a
There was no immediate
indication of who was to
blame, but the head of the UN mission in Kosovo,
Bernard Kouchner, visited the scene soon after the
explosion and said he believed it was the work of
"enemies of democracy".
Elections are due
in Kosovo in October.
in Belgrade claimed that the attack
was aimed at their delegation's offices and was part of
an attempt to wipe out Yugoslav influence in Kosovo.
A province of Yugoslavia,
Kosovo has been administed
by the United Nations since June last year, when the
arrival of K-For ended a civil war between ethnic
Albanian separatists and Yugoslav forces.
The K-For troops
have struggled to contain ethnic and
criminal violence in Kosovo, particularly against Serbs
and other minorities, since they took over responsibility.
LOS ANGELES TIMES
Saturday, August 19, 2000
Ethnic Albanians Face New Peril--Themselves
By PAUL WATSON,
Times Staff Writer
survived Serbian rampages. They lived
through a NATO air war waged in their name. But now some Kosovo
Albanians are being targeted by the very people they had trusted--their
A dirty war among
ethnic Albanian political parties has been escalating
for nearly a year. And foreign peacekeeping troops and police, citing
of cooperation from witnesses, have done little to stop it.
It was easy for
the men who came to kill Shaban Manaj. They called at his
house in this western Kosovo town and said they needed a lawyer to
defend a man in jail on a minor charge. The ethnic Albanian politician
climbed into the front passenger seat of their red BMW and was never
troops found his body Aug. 5 in the almost
deserted village of Ozrim, about nine miles from where the two ethnic
Albanians had kidnapped him 10 days earlier.
Manaj founded the
local branch of the moderate Democratic League of
Kosovo in 1990 when its pacifist leader, Ibrahim Rugova, began the painful
struggle for independence from Yugoslavia. Serbian police arrested Manaj
several times over the years to try to silence him.
The ethnic Albanian
thugs succeeded where the Serbs failed. They
dumped Manaj's body in a ditch and set fire to it, just as Serbian war
criminals had done to many of their ethnic Albanian victims.
"It is very
difficult," Manaj's elder brother, Tahir, said, trying to
understand how it has come to this. "What makes it more difficult
burning of the body. After all that, how could he be burned?"
Manaj was one of
at least five local leaders of Rugova's party attacked in
recent days, victims of political violence that has spread since last
across Kosovo, a separatist province of Serbia, the dominant of
Yugoslavia's two republics.
In one of the most
recent incidents under investigation, the wife of one of
Rugova's party officials was killed in an explosion at her home in the
southern Kosovo town of Dragas on Aug. 9.
parties say their members have been targeted too, but
Rugova's supporters are suffering the most, according to U.N. police
Moderate Party Ahead
in Run-Up to Vote
and credibility, dropped sharply after he met with
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic at the height of NATO's airstrikes
last year, yet polls still show his party leading in the run-up to elections
for Oct. 28.
Long before NATO
got involved in Kosovo--spending millions of dollars
and dropping thousands of bombs to protect ethnic Albanians from a
vicious Serbian crackdown--the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army had
called Rugova and his party traitors because they insisted on peaceful
protest against Serbian rule. His perceived willingness to compromise
makes him a target for radicals.
Hashim Thaci, who
became political chief of the KLA with strong support
from Washington, now has his own party, the Democratic Party of Kosovo.
The party is Rugova's main opposition, and U.N. police are looking at
Thaci's supporters as potential suspects in the political bloodshed.
At least some of
Thaci's supporters have been under suspicion since
November, when men dressed in black who said they were acting on orders
from his "Ministry of Order" kidnapped and viciously beat
Sinan Gashi, a
leader of Rugova's party in Glogovac, a pro-Thaci town.
Two days earlier,
men in black uniforms claiming to be police led another
of Rugova's local party leaders, Haki Imeri, 52, from his home near
just down the road from Glogovac. He was later found dead, with four
bullets to the back of the head.
once one of Thaci's top commanders in the KLA, is
now one of his biggest political opponents as leader of the Alliance
Future of Kosovo, which also is suspected of carrying out political
Haradinaj was wounded
July 7 when a rocket-propelled grenade blasted
the car he was in with a relative, a local commander of the Kosovo
Protection Corps. The corps was set up as a civil defense unit to give
KLA guerrillas new jobs dealing with forest fires and other natural
but it is struggling to fend off accusations of human rights abuses.
Villager Sadik Musa,
a Rugova supporter, admitted firing at Haradinaj's
car but said he was only defending himself after Haradinaj and his men
attacked with automatic rifles.
Both Thaci and Haradinaj
have denied any link to political violence, and
they publicly espouse tolerance toward their ethnic Albanian rivals
as minorities, such as Serbs.
Haradinaj had a
reputation as a ruthless fighter when he commanded
KLA forces in western Kosovo, one of the province's bloodiest
battlegrounds in the KLA's war with the Serbs.
Children Weep Over
When peace came,
Manaj's family had to dig his grave in the same soil.
Last week, his coffin
stood on the back patio of the home he spent 16
years building, next to a garden lush with apple and plum trees. The
was covered with flowers and draped with the Albanian flag, a symbol
the independence struggle that brought him into Rugova's party a decade
His five children
wept over the casket, all except the youngest, 5-year-old
Fortesa, who sat in the arms of her mother, Fatmushe, 45, not sure what
happening. With her small finger, she wiped away her mother's tears.
Around a corner
of the house, Manaj's cramped office was just as he had
left it. A yellow manual typewriter sat on the desk, next to a pile
paper and a stack of files. A blue-and-white towel hung from a nail
school to his last day, he was never a materialist," Manaj's
brother said after peering through the locked glass door. "He always
for the people--and only the people."
U.N. police say
it's difficult to find the perpetrators of Kosovo's
killings--or even to come up with suspects--because witnesses either
to cooperate or they change their stories, often after threats. Manaj's
relatives said they had no idea who might have wanted him dead.
unclear for us," his brother said, weakly shaking his head. "I
Blood feuds are
not new to Kosovo Albanian politics. Yet, just as Serbs
complained that foreign troops and police were slow in reacting to ethnic
Albanian attacks against them in the wake of the air war, ethnic Albanians
now blame the U.N. for letting political extremists get away with murder.
Last fall, prominent
members of Rugova's party were being kidnapped,
assaulted and killed, while party offices were bombed. But Kosovo's
administrator, Frenchman Bernard Kouchner, set up a special unit to
investigate and punish political crimes only this month.
a police officer from Washington state, is on the front
line of Kosovo's dirty war as commander of the U.N. police in Srbica.
70,000 people live on his beat in the radical Drenica Valley, birthplace
KLA and now a Thaci stronghold.
Of the 15 murders
reported to Ostrander's force since he took charge in
September, all but a few--such as the murder of two local Serbs--appear
be politically motivated, he said.
Ostrander said he
is certain that the political violence is organized,
promised: "When the time is right, you're going to see a lot of
But he has just
44 officers, seven of them Americans, even though the
U.N.'s plan calls for 100 foreign cops in the Srbica zone, long one
most dangerous in Kosovo.
that U.N. police are likely targets if they arrest people
suspected of ordering and carrying out the political killings. His men
already found a machine gun in an apartment block overlooking his office
after ethnic Albanians with walkie-talkies were spotted on the building's
"It's a well-known
fact that when people come in here to complain, they
are being watched," Ostrander said in his office Thursday. "These
have come right out and told us. There are many times when they want
meet outside the station because they fear that they're going to be
for one reason or another.
no direct act of violence taken against the [U.N.] civilian
police--yet," Ostrander added. "But that does not mean that
will not happen.
Several of my officers from other contingents are nervous. Some are
especially at night.
that if they go out and do a normal traffic stop, the
subjects in the car could be armed with rocket-propelled grenades or
Kalashnikov rifles, and all we have is pistols."
Sejdi Koca, 63,
was driving home from Srbica on Aug. 1 when a gunman
opened fire from behind some bushes. A bullet grazed Koca's throat and
his right shoulder.
Koca is acting head
of Rugova's party branch in Srbica and was a close
colleague of Imeri, the party leader who was killed last year. Like
was used to the risks of politics in Kosovo. The Serbs burned his house
twice during offensives, in the fall of 1998 and the spring of 1999,
was also kidnapped for seven days by KLA fighters.
"This is much
more painful because, from childhood, we knew who the
Serbs were and could never expect anything good from them," Koca
he reclined on a cushion in his sitting room. "But we never expected
[Albanians] could do this to ourselves."
Koca thinks that
the intelligence service of neighboring Albania has a
hand in Kosovo's bloodletting, and he accused Thaci of doing too little
stop it. But Koca is still determined to run for election to Srbica's
He didn't surrender
to the Serbs, he said, and isn't about to give in to
thugs among his own people.
"But our members
are a little bit scared because the people had only one
cause: to be freed from Serbia. This black evil, they never imagined,"
said. "The population, in general, is not ready to fight this."
NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE
August 20, 2000
View From the Bridge
In Kosovo, in the
city of Mitrovica, the Ibar River maintains
a fragile peace -- keeping Serbs and Albanians from each
other's throats. Photographs by PAOLO PELLEGRIN Text by GUY LAWSON
The View from the Bridge (6 photos)
The Ibar River runs
across the high plains
of Kosovo and passes slowly under the five bridges of Mitrovica.
Here, more than a year after international peacekeepers arrived in the
province, the United Nations has turned the narrow, dirty brown meander
of the Ibar into a border: south is the Albanian side of town, north,
Serbian. Before the war, Albanians and Serbs lived in neighborhoods
scattered on both sides of the river, and citizens were free to move
and forth over the Ibar. But the aftermath of war and a fragile peace
brought a new and segregated reality to the divided city. North of the
river, north of Mitrovica, the farms and villages are almost exclusively
Serbian, and yet farther north lies Serbia itself; the river is the
and a symbol for both sides of the claims and counterclaims to land
history and belonging. And now, in Mitrovica, the purpose of the bridges
spanning the river has been inverted; the tumbles of razor wire and
armed checkpoints and the idling tanks of international peacekeepers
positioned to make sure the Ibar is not crossed.
Still, the U.N.
is desperate to create the appearance of reconciliation and
to try to find a way to persuade the antagonists to live together once
again. To this end, it has declared a short stretch of the Ibar a "zone
confidence." Inside the zone, on the Serbian side of the river,
pockets where Albanians and Serbs live side by side. Within one of these
enclaves, in the middle of the zone, is a set of run-down 11-story
apartment towers. Their population is mixed, three-quarters Albanian
one-quarter Serbian. Directly in front of the towers is a small footbridge,
one of two that the peacekeepers have built to allow the Albanians in
north to cross to the south in order to work, shop or visit friends
having to walk through Serb-dominated streets. Before the footbridges
were constructed, when Mitrovica had only three permanent crossings,
Albanian residents needed to be escorted by tank to the main bridge.
The towers are separated
from the rest of the Serbian side by razor wire,
and tanks and armed personnel carriers roar by night and day; there
troops bivouacked in the courtyard and soldiers patrolling the hallways.
No one can enter the towers without handing over an identity card to
guard at the door, and no guests are allowed. The U.N.-issued cards
record name and date of birth but not the one essential fact of life
Kosovo -- ethnic identity.
this summer, half a dozen Albanian teenage boys who
live in the towers could be found playing basketball at a hoop next
sand bunker. One day in June, the boys pointed to a cluster of Serb
teenagers hanging out on the far side of the razor wire. The physical
differences between Serbs and Albanians are small, invisible even, but
everyone I spoke to in Mitrovica claimed they could recognize the other
at a glance; it was impossible to describe how; they just knew. The
across the way were at a kiosk with the Serbian national flag hanging
the side, and they sold Serbian nationalist trinkets: bottle openers,
chains, daggers. The Albanian boys told me that it was a deliberate
provocation and that they would never do such a thing. "We are
they said. "We are not Serbian."
At 5 o'clock each
afternoon the streets on the north side of the Ibar were
blocked by Serbs to protest what they called the continuing campaign
of terror against them, and the Albanian kids were forced to go indoors;
the sight of an Albanian, any Albanian, might ignite a riot.
Inside the towers,
Serbs and Albanians who have known each other for
years nodded greetings and then quickly retreated behind
steel-reinforced doors. Many of the residents had taken to drinking,
men and women without work slept the days away; all said that it was
bad life, that it was no life at all. The state of enforced ethnic civility
coexistence between neighbors was fragile and didn't extend to outsiders.
When I took a Serbian translator to the three towers, hoping to talk
some of the Serbian families living there, the Albanian boys gathered
close in and stared at him with frank and furious hatred. "He is
the boys asked.
In the rest of Kosovo
the killing goes on, now mainly Albanians murdering
Serbs. Mitrovica is tranquil for the most part, though, if calm is measured
by a day going by without a death. On the Albanian side of the river,
streets teem with the clamor of reconstruction and victory and newly
liberty. On the Serbian side, in another city altogether, the temper
sullen and angry and oppressive. Staring out from behind sunglasses
bombed-out storefronts and abandoned apartments, Serbian men maintain
a constant vigil over the bridges. The bridgekeepers, as they are known,
are lean and hard and suspicious. Serbian men dressed in civilian clothes
but with military bearing, they are the vanguard of the organization
has appointed itself to protect against any Albanian invasion, no matter
how unlikely with the overwhelming force of foreign troops and the
strict rules limiting movement in the zone.
The Dolce Vita is
opposite the main bridge on
the Serbian side, a small bar with its curtains drawn and bridgekeepers
drinking slivovitz and Santana playing on the stereo. "I don't
Albanians," one bridgekeeper told me quietly, so the other Serbian
couldn't hear him; Serbs and Albanians have to find a way to live
together, there is no choice. He fled from Pristina, the capital of
the week before, forced from his home at gunpoint by an Albanian man,
he said, and he had a wartime look in his eyes: scared and tired and
confused and defiant and desperate for some kind of escape. He smoked
four packs of cigarettes a day and drank slivovitz from a plastic jug.
said he hated only one Albanian, the man who killed his brother, and
went on to say that he had once lived with an Albanian girlfriend.
We wandered through
the streets on the Serbian side of town, and he
told me that the thing he didn't understand was why the world was
treating the Serbs so badly; there was good and evil on both sides.
as we walked, every third or fourth house we passed had been torched
and looted by Serbs before NATO came into Kosovo a year earlier. "I
mean, I understand," he said at the sight of the wreckage and fell
The next day the
bridgekeeper was in the Dolce Vita, and he told me he
had been up all night drinking and singing Serbian nationalist songs.
was pale and sweating, and his voice was raw. Outside, there were a
people sitting on the park benches that had been arranged along the
next to freshly planted flower beds, stage props installed by the U.N.
create the semblance of normal life. The elderly Serbian men and women
on the benches sat with their backs turned to the river and the Albanian
side of town.
In "The Three-Arched
Bridge," the Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare's tale
of the arrival of Islam in the Balkans in the 14th century, the central
metaphor is a bridge spanning fate and fable and the fear of the unknown.
Now, in Mitrovica, the idea of the outsider has been reduced to hatred
and revenge and a river with a divide both narrow and vast. Inside the
Dolce Vita, the bridgekeeper leaned forward and whispered that he had
found a way out of the city. Trapped in his own skin, in the middle
war that has continued in spirit and spite even as it was supposed to
ended, he told me a fantastic tale of an important mission and a
rendezvous with a secret service agent of a foreign country. He was
going to be spirited off to another land, he said, far, far away.
to give me a new identity," he said, and he smiled a
half-crazy, drunken smile.
August 23, 2000
empty whole magazine at Nedeljkovic minors
children again targeted
PRISTINA - Unknown
attackers opened fire two nights ago at 7:30 p.m. at Serb children in
the village of Staro Gracko near Lipljan. After the bomb attack in Crkvene
Vodice, this is the second attack on
Serb children in Kosovo.
An unknown attacker
fired a shot from a pistol at three children in the yard of the Nedeljkovic
family in Starko Gracko. The bullet missed Milos Nedeljkovic (16) who
was in the yard with his sisters, ages 4
and 17 years. After emptying a whole magazine of ammunition from the
moving vehicle, a red Opel Ascona, the terrorists fled toward
the Albanian village of Veliki Alas.
After the incident
one UN policeman accompanied by three Kosovo policemen appeared on the
scene from where they headed in a search toward Alas. UNMIK folice failed
to provide details yesterday
regarding this attack.
The Yugoslav Center
for the Rights of the Child expressed its deep concern because 14 months
after the deployment of KFOR and UNMIK in Kosovo, the most elementary
security of the non-Albanian
population has not been ensured, it said in its protest addressed today
to the international mission in the Province.
The most recent
in a series of events, when a bomb explosion in the village of Crkvena
Vodica near Obilic caused serious and light injuries to fifteen children
of Serb nationality while they were playing,
confirms that essential measures for the protection of the lives of
the residents and the children were not taken, it is said in the
Translated by S.
Lazovic (August 22, 2000