Kosovo Guerrillas Arrested in Gang Probe
PRISTINA, Aug 25,
2000 -- (Reuters) Ten people, most of them former
members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, have been arrested in an operation
against a gang suspected of smuggling, extortion and murder, peacekeepers
seized four AK-47 semi-automatic rifles, one automatic rifle, a
sniper rifle and more than DEM 50,000, said a spokesman for the Italian
Carabinieri special police contingent, which led the operation.
The spokesman, Captain
Paolo Nardelli, said officers had searched more than 10
houses in the operation, which took place on Wednesday in southeastern
near the Macedonian border.
was against a gang that is very active there," he told Reuters.
The KLA, an ethnic
Albanian guerrilla group which fought against Serb rule,
officially disbanded last year after a NATO bombing campaign drove out
forces and Kosovo became a de facto international protectorate.
have voiced suspicions that former KLA fighters are involved
in organized crime. Former KLA leaders have insisted they are not behind
illegal activity, while not excluding that some individuals may have
turned to crime.
also yielded a KLA uniform, Nardelli said, and one of the
arrested men was a member of the Kosovo Protection Corps, the civilian
successor to the KLA which has a mandate to help with reconstruction
10 persons, most of them former UCK members," said Nardelli,
using the Albanian initials of the KLA.
"All the men
were arrested for illegal possession of weapons and rounds and
criminal association," he added.
Files on four more
men suspected of illegal activity, including a member of the
province's fledgling local police service, had been submitted to prosecutors,
Nardelli said the
gang was suspected of involvement in three homicides between
December 1999 and January this year. Investigators believed the sniper
had discovered could be linked to the killings, he said.
Kosovo Albanians arrested in anti-crime operation
25 AUGUST -- A large-scale
operation to crack down on crime in Kosovo
has led to the arrest of 10 Kosovo Albanians for taking part in a
criminal association and for illegal possession of weapons, the United
Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) reported today.
The cordon and search
operation, known as "Operation Ghibli," was the
culmination of a long-term investigation carried out by the
international peacekeeping force, KFOR, which targeted a criminal gang
involved in smuggling, extortion and at least three homicides in the
area of Djeneral Jankovic and Urosevac, south of the capital city of
KFOR spokesman Major
Scott Slaten said four other Albanians were
reported to the local prosecutor for taking part in a criminal
The military police
on Wednesday carried out a thorough and extensive
search of 11 homes, which uncovered weapons, fake passports, foreign
currency in cash and one Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) battle dress
uniform with patches.
Most of the men
arrested were former KLA fighters, while one of them is
currently a Kosovo Protection Corps and another a Kosovo Police Service
member. The arrested are being held until they are brought to court
possible criminal charges, Major Slaten said.
of the gang arrested during "Operation Ghibli" are
suspected of being responsible for three homicides that have been
committed in the Djeneral Jankovic and Urosevac area, from December
to January 2000.
Issue 2591, August 24, 2000
packet for KFOR
By LIDIJA KUJUNDZIC
As she wrote NIN's
reporter a receipt for purchased film, Lola Negovanovic explained
in detail why, even last winter when there was no electricity and even
no water for
days, when the curfews began at 6:00 p.m., she did not leave Kosovska
spite was greater even than her fear that the Albanians might after
all cross the
bridge on the Ibar and take over the northern part of the city as well
which is what
her husband Momcilo and children thought, too.
that they took our store near the bridge. Now I have no reason to go
when our store is working again - because of the foreigners," says
Lola and adds:
"Who knows if we would even have anything to eat up there in Serbia?
Here it is
easier, despite everything; everyone knows us, we are among our own
what Internet? Half the city doesn't have a telephone line. What do
need an Internet cafe for?" says Pero incredulously as he sits
next to a counter in
front of the bus station where he sells "Golden Series" comics
for five dinars
apiece and half-completed crosswords from the beginning of the 1990's.
yesterday's newspapers, including "Politika" which is distributed
for free, for one
"I make enough
for my beer and that's enough for me," says Pera who is convinced
that his family name is not actually Vasic as it says on his identity
something different altogether. "If I were Vasic I would certainly
have a wife and I
wouldn't be likely to forget something like that," he explains.
The only "free
territory" in Kosovska Mitrovica where one can listen to hard rock
and other good music is the "Black Lady" Cafe. This is where
a younger crowd gathers
who call themselves the urban guerrillas. They don't care much at all
upcoming elections, either the one to be held in Serbia and Montenegro
or the one
called by Kouchner.
that have to do with me? Who am I supposed to vote for? I don't want
vote for Milosevic, I don't know any of the others and I don't really
going to be chief up there anyway," says Nemanja Murtganic, concluding:
time that those you up there start killing each other, too, so you can
yourselves what we went through here."
guerrillas" from the "Black Lady" are also uninterested
in the fact that
their parents have been striking for a full week in front of the Trepca
"It was only
a question of time when they were going to take it over," says
If he were not afraid of the influence of Oliver Ivanovic, the president
of the Serb
National Council of Kosovska Mitrovica, on his friends and relatives,
have added that Kouchner had done as he pleased yet again and that there
point now to demonstrating and protesting because it was a done deal.
As it was, when
asked whether he wasn't concerned that UNMIK with the help of KFOR
had taken over one of the most significant industrial plants in the
Mitrovica-Zvecan-Leposavic corridor which is of strategic importance
to the survival
of Kosovska Mitrovica, Nemanja replies with the confidence characteristic
under 20 year age group: "I'd like to see how the Shiptars are
going to get past us
in Mitrovica. Let them try if they dare but they don't dare. They know
be a couple thousand less of them left."
It is difficult
to presume who would get out of this situation at all and with what
casualties. However, Nemanja, who is completely convinced in the power
and the fighting spirit of the city's residents, would rather talk about
vacation on the Montenegrin seaside. When asked where he got the money
to go on
vacation, he replies: "I made do just like everyone else."
Nebojsa did not further
explain what kind of "making do" was involved but one got
the impression that, under
the best of circumstances, it was some kind of semi-legal scheme more
petty gasoline smuggling.
Among those who
did not go to the seaside is Vanja M. nicknamed "Vampire";
because he is "the poorest person in the city", as he himself
says, but simply
because someone had to stay behind in the city. This twenty two year-old
from the big bridge says that he's a little bored since the Albanians
down on the other side of the bridge.
us two or three times but that's nothing. Now everything is calm and
we're cool," says Vanja, who on February 20 shared shifts with
his friend Djordje
Petrovic, observing the rooftops and Albanian flags in the southern
Mitrovica through a sniper's scope.
to go. He got in the way of our people," says Vanja.
The fact that Djordje
was the nineteenth man who lived in a broken into and looted
Albanian apartment across the street from the post office didn't bother
people". No one bothered Djordje for a while after he arrived from
as an employee of the British humanitarian organization Oxfam, he frequently
odd jobs for "our people" who finally grew irked with him
for coming to Kosovska
Mitrovica without any apparent reason just when things were hardest
for them. "They
forgot all the good things Djordje did for them and suddenly began to
who Djordje was working for. He left so that they couldn't chase him
out like a
dog," says Vanja.
Mine and yours
The others who left
Kosovska Mitrovica did so only for a short time to go swimming
or to visit relatives in Serbia. Nonetheless, there have been some people
to Kosovska Mitrovica to visit their apartments. Velimir Stanisavljevic,
with his family in June for Montenegro, came back to find the Brankovic
Urosevac in his apartment.
"At first they
wouldn't even let me into my own apartment and then they told me how
they had left their apartment in Urosevac," says Stanisavljevic,
adding that they
offered to exchange apartments with him. "What am I supposed to
do with their
apartment in Urosevac? I want my apartment; what I'm going to do with
it is my
business. I can sell it if I want to."
However, on August
21, Stanisavljevic found out that an agreement was out of the
question. The Brankovic's called their friends and neighbors from Urosevac
assistance who explained to Stanisavljevic, according to this words,
not to come
back and to forget the apartment which he left of his own accord. It
to Stanisavljevic to explain to them that they had left their homes
in Urosevac as
well; instead, he went to UNMIK.
everything down and told me that they would advise me if there were
new developments. The policeman with the earring told me that there
were a lot of
abandoned apartments in which someone else was now living," says
The long-time residents
of Kosovska Mitrovica are angry with the residents of
Urosevac because they were the first to "make do" and take
over the apartments of
Albanians who fled from the northern part of the city.
"How did they
manage to sniff out where they were supposed to dash in? And they
found out before any of our people who were born here in Mitrovica,
like me," says
Momcilo Negovanovic, the owner of a photo shop and adds: "I didn't
anyone's apartment. My family and I live from what we make in the shop
fine. We have enough work and I can sleep peacefully at night."
Guardians of the
However, in Kosovska
Mitrovica only those who have to work during the day. Retail
merchants and smugglers, physicians, postal clerks and members of KFOR
who are also
the most conscientious in performing their duties.
The most conscientious
of all among them are the guardians of the bridges for whom
temperatures of 38 degrees Celsius [100 degrees Farenheit] were no excuse
sitting in the shadows of the poplar trees and catching a catnap like
Master sergeant Pierre Jacquom (sp?) was so conscientious that he asked
reporter, who had valid KFOR accreditation, to remove the film from
because it was not permitted to photograph the French soldiers on the
"You have to
get permission from the French PIO," said the sergeant. When asked
not expose the film to light to protect the other photographs until
returned with permission, he simply said: "I can't. It's against
However, it was
no easy task to get permission because one had to go to the
southern, Albanian part of the city - without an escort, because Sergeant
was afraid that he might violate one of any number of orders. One needed
the 500 meter bridge, go through a marketplace where one could even
okra (at a price of 25 marks per kilogram), turn right and come back.
something in a green book, a declaration of national affinity, a
detailed inspection of the existing accreditation and the comment that
not write in the Cyrillic but in the Latin alphabet, Colonel Henri Agavy
concluded that everything was as it should be and with a theatrical
motion of the
left hand pulled a business card from his pocket on which he wrote:
photography allowed with prior authorization."
However, this was
not enough for Sergeant Jacquom. While he was talking with Colonel
Agavy via short-wave, the NIN reporter lost her patience, took out her
several quick snapshots and went on her way.
Everything is open
at night in Kosovska Mitrovica, even on Sundays, and if it were
not for the Moroccan soldiers who sit enjoying their cold "Amstel"
beers, one would
think this was the Budva riviera. In the "Bee Bop" one can
activists from Zvecan, persecuted by no one, sitting at the same table
The terrace of the
"Design" pastry shop is crowded each evening with people who
stand gnashing their teeth above the heads of those sitting who still
finished their ice cream. Those who consider it more important to pour
concrete into their bellies than to be seen, and there are many such
instead to the cafes to explain to the casual passer-by what they would
do if they
were in a position of some authority.
Not quite six months
ago it was unthinkable that UNMIK policemen, officers, junior
officers and exemplary soldiers of KFOR should quietly sit in the cafes
and chat; at
that point, they avoided walking down the main street in Mitrovica unless
at least four of them. Today no one is surprised to see, as NIN's reporter
the "Number 1" restaurant, a member of KFOR with an inexpertly
done tattoo of a
dagger on his right forearm negotiating a deal with two Serbs among
two plates of
After several short
telephone calls, one of the Serbs got up from the table and
walked in the direction of the hospital; at the same time, the soldier
other a thin pile of German marks. After carefully counting the money,
the man made
a telephone call and left. For a few minutes the soldier, who had nothing
uniform to indicate his name, unit or rank, sat alone. The man who first
returned carrying something in his hand the size of a medium chocolate
in newspaper. The soldier unwrapped the paper on the table and the aluminum
wrapping which contained a tarrish, dark brown substance very similar
No one even tried
to say anything besides Tanja, the waitress, who returning with
the NIN reporter's change, discretely said:
you wouldn't mind not staring like that at the gentleman. He might be
uncomfortable and, you know, he is a very good customer."
When asked if the
tip was worth that much, Tanja stuck her nose in the air and
answered somewhat haughtily: "But of course."
* * * * *
Silver and gold
On Sunday, August
20, not a single Trepca worker was willing to protest in front of
the lead smelter in temperatures of 37 degrees Celsius [99 degrees Farenheit].
Representatives of the UN civil mission and KFOR soldiers had hoped
that the Serbs
of Zvecan and Kosovska Mitrovica would give up in their demonstrations
takeover of the Trepca plant by Bernard Kouchner, the special representative
UN secretary general in Kosovo and Metohija.
However, the same
evening the media close to the current [Serbian] regime broadcast
the news that KFOR soldiers took from Trepca approximately 900 kilograms
2 kilograms of gold and that all safes in which dinars were kept had
The Serbs of Zvecan
and Kosovska Mitrovica again organized themselves and the
demonstrations continued on Monday, August 21.
of KFOR did not make much effort to deny the news but briefly
advised that an assessment of the value of the silver and gold found
was in process.
Further "explanation" was also given by Kouchner who said
that the dinars from
Trepca were intended and distributed as one-time assistance (of 1,250
Trepca workers who one week ago lost their jobs when KFOR troops took
over and shut
down the Trepca plan in Zvecan to prevent an ecological catastrophe.
Translated by S.
Lazovic (August 25, 2000)
Kosovo Serbs Killed, Sparking Protests
PRISTINA, Aug 28,
2000 -- (Agence France Presse) Two Kosovo Serb
communities erupted in fury after a man was shot dead and a child killed
by a hit
and run driver in separate incidents Sunday, UN and KFOR officials said.
Three Serbian children
were seriously injured and a fourth killed when they
were hit by a car at 2:00 p.m. (1200 GMT) in the village of Skulanevo,
(10 kilometers) southwest of Pristina, UN police spokesman Richard Graham
Later a Serbian
man was shot dead in a Kosovo village where nine days before
10 Serb children had been injured in a grenade attack, said Lieutenant
Carpenter, a spokeswoman for the KFOR peacekeeping force.
The man suffered
gunshot wounds to the head in the attack, which took place at
7:12 p.m (1712 GMT) in Crkvena Vodica, where on August 18, 10 Serb
children were injured when unknown attackers threw grenades onto a
The village is near
Obilic, a town four miles (seven kilometers) west of Pristina.
Carpenter said she had no details about the identity of the victim nor
for the attack.
the shooting Norwegian peacekeepers were deployed to the
scene, Carpenter said. There had been reports of Serbs gathering to
and a truck was found burned out in Obilic, but by 9:00 p.m. the situation
calm, she reported.
the hit-and-run in Skulanevo, more than 100 angry Serbs
erected barricades and threw stones at UN vehicles, damaging many of
KFOR chief spokesman Major Scott Slaten said.
of soldiers from KFOR's Finnish battallion went to the village
where local Serbs demanded that the road be blocked to Kosovo Albanian
traffic," Slaten said.
"The road through
Skulanevo is a main road which links many Kosovo Serbian
and Kosovo Albanian villages and cannot be denied to any one group,"
The Finnish troops
withdrew their armored personnel carriers from the village
and sealed off access to it in order to allow the situation to calm
A description of
the car was sent to all KFOR troops and a Kosovo Albanian
driver was later stopped by Swedish peacekeepers and handed over to
police, Slaten said.
"He is expected
to be charged with vehicular homicide and driving while
intoxicated," Slaten said.
The three injured
children were taken to a Russian military hospital in Kosovo
Polje, he said.
UN spokeswoman Claire
Trevena told AFP that one injured child had suffered
severe internal injuries, one a broken arm and the third a broken leg.
child was also hit but did not need hospital treatment, she added.
UN chief administrator, Jock Covey, went to the hospital on
hearing of the accident, Trevena said.
"This is a
terrible tragedy," Covey said. "The death is a blow to every
Skulanevo and Crkvena
Vodica are in a tense ethnically mixed region of
Kosovo to the south and west of the provincial capital that is regularly
of ethnically motivated violence.
Members of Kosovo's
Serbian and Roma minorities have in particular been the
target of attacks, most of which are believed to be committed by ethnic
Albanians in revenge for atrocities committed during Kosovo's 1998-1999
war by Yugoslavian forces.
The Yugoslav province
has been administered by the United Nations since June
last year when a 78-day NATO bombing campaign forced Belgrade's troops
out and paved the way for the installation of a UN administration.
deplores violence as Serbs protest killings
Aug 28 (AFP) - Bernard Kouchner, head of
the United Nations' mission in Kosovo, condemned Monday the killing
of two Serbs as protesters attacked his administration's failure to
ensure their community's safety.
"It has been a bloody and tragic weekend for Kosovo," he said
a statement released in Pristina.
"Those who commit such acts are killing their future, the future
of Kosovo. This is not the way for the province to rebuild. This is
not a route to democracy," he said.
Pavle Nedeljkovic, 75, was mown down by a burst of automatic
gunfire while tending his livestock just outside the village of
Crkvena Vodica, central Kosovo, late Sunday, the Serbian National
Council (SNV) said.
His death came just hours after an eight-year-old Serbian child,
Nikola Nikolic, was run down by an ethnic Albanian motorist, who
carried on driving and ploughed into two more children on bikes and
a teenage pedestrian, seriously injuring them, in Skulanevo village,
six miles (10 kilometres) further south.
The motorist was arrested and is expected to be charged with
"vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated," UN spokeswoman
Claire Trevena said. However, police sources told AFP they were
investigating the possibility that the children were deliberately
Kouchner sent his sympathies to the victims' families, and
declared: "Sympathies and prayers are not enough. Kosovo's people
have got to stop the killings. The right minded people of Kosovo
cannot allow terror and violence to take hold.
"While the attacks on minorities are silently condoned, Kosovo's
people are moving backwards rather than joing the UN mission and
working towards the province's future."
Meanwhile, in the Serbian enclave of Gracanica, around 1,000
Serbs gathered to hear local political leaders denounce the violence
against their community and accuse the United Nations and the KFOR
peacekeeping force of failing in their duty to protect minorities.
The demonstrators were accompanied by about 20 children carrying
banners displaying the slogans: "NATO go home," "Stop
children" and "Kosovo is Serbia".
Slobodan Ilic, head of the local branch of Yugoslavian president
Slobodan Milosevic's Serbian Socialist Party, was warmly cheered
after he denounced KFOR, but the crowd dispersed peacefully after
Earlier KFOR's British-led central brigade announced that with
the arrival of new commanders and a combat battallion of Royal
Marine Commandos it would adopt more aggressive tactics in dealing
with ethnic attacks.
The marines and troops from Scandinavian countries in the
brigade would concentrate on patrolling tense areas rather than
manning fixed positions and hope to catch extremists unawares, Major
Tim Pearce said.
Members of Kosovo's Serbian and Roma communities have in
particular been the target of attacks, most of which are believed to
be committed by ethnic Albanians to drive minorities out of the
province. Some attacks may be in revenge for atrocities committed
during Kosovo's 1998-1999 civil war.
Issue 2591, August 24, 2000
Serbs get shot
By IVANA JANKOVIC
(24), a reporter for Radio Kontakt in Pristina, the victim of a
burst of gun fire at the end of June, two months later feels "absolutely
fine and as
if nothing had happened". She is still working as a reporter but
in the Radio
Kontakt office in Kosovska Mitrovica.
Valentina was born
in Pristina. She studied law; after the dislocation of the
faculties, she began working as a reporter. Her parents and sister live
She left Pristina after the bombing only to return one month later.
In the main street
in Pristina, on June 20 at 8:00 p.m. three armed attackers opened
fire on her and her escort, Ljubo Topalovic, who was wounded in both
legs (he has
since recovered). Valentina was hit in the stomach; her spleen was removed
they were following us but at that moment I wasn't thinking about what
could happen. It was still day, we were on the main street, almost a
year had passed
and somehow I didn't expect... They fired at us from behind from a distance
meters; they emptied a cartridge and they fled."
Did they hear you
talking in the Serbian language?
No, we weren't talking.
My assumption is that they knew who I was and that I am a
Serb. In Pristina today that's enough to get you killed. People in the
to run toward us and to shout "Skije" which is a derogatory
name for Serbs. They
knew that Serbs are the only ones that get shot.
An Albanian approached
me and began to drag me and to explain to me in English that
I needed to go to the hospital but I broke out of his grip. We tried
to stop a car;
an OSCE vehicle passed us but it didn't stop.
Was the Albanian
who was trying to take you to the hospital an acquaintance?
No, and he was trying
to take me to Pristina Hospital. The only thing I can say is
there are no Serbs at that hospital. Besides, even if he truly wanted
to help me, I
don't believe that he would have dared in front of that crowd. Of the
200 people who
approached me, at least 100 were armed.
I was very frightened.
I had three bullets in my stomach and one in my leg so I
couldn't run very well... We crossed the street and stopped an OSCE
asked them to take us to the Russian hospital but the German in the
car said that I
would not make it to the Russian one and that he had to take me to the
It was only then that I realized that my life was in danger. The Albanian
the driver later told everyone in the city that he had to take us because
a pistol at his temple. He had to justify himself.
What kind of treatment
did you receive in the British hospital?
Excellent. Dr. Ralph
Downed (sp?) and Major Chris Chanel (sp?) literally saved my
life. Because I had internal bleeding, it took them half an hour to
prepare me for
surgery. I had to remain conscious. The Albanian woman translator held
my hand and
talked to me to whole time to keep me awake. I was there for a week
and then I was
transferred to the Military Medical Academy (VMA) in Belgrade. I was
spend one night in the hospital in Nis but I was there only three hours.
physician who received me began to shout when he heard that I wanted
to be released;
he shouted at me that I was spoiled, that I have should have stayed
at the English
hospital, that I would be received at VMA only if my father was a general,
not and that as far as he was concerned, I was completely well, able
to walk and
that I should be grateful to him for receiving me because that wasn't
his job. After
everything I had been through, this was the last straw; I left the hospital
immediately and came to Belgrade by private car. Afterwards, at VMA
What is your view
of everything that occurred?
There are bad people
among both Albanians and among Serbs alike. In Pristina there
are many people who have lost everything and who are looking for a victim
on whom to
vent their anger. Especially among the newcomers who did not live in
before. When I agreed to live there, I think, I took on some risk; I
aware that something could happen. I was lucky in that I survived.
After the bombing
you left Pristina. What made you come back a month later?
I don't know. If
I were to say I had nowhere else to go, I would be lying. Perhaps
there was some spite, perhaps because I would feel defeated if I had
perhaps because my house is in Pristina. this is where I grew up, this
is my street,
this is my city.
At first, I was
overcome with horror, I couldn't comprehend that I don't dare speak
the Serbian language anymore, that I must take off my cross, that I
am constantly in
danger. I cried for two days and then I adapted. The fact that I was
I headed the informative-political program at Radio Kontakt and also
the folk music
program. People would call and request songs but they wouldn't dare
names. It meant a lot to me to know that they were out there, listening.
What does a day
in the life of a Serb reporter in Pristina look like?
Get up, go to work,
come home around five o'clock and stay home after that. I knew
where the Serb enclaves were so I didn't have a problem in the field.
through the city without an escort like all the Serb reporters. There
promises that we would be provided with protection and an escort but
materialized. We were considered to be a Serb radio station even though
were the minority there; we had Albanians and Turks and Bosniacs, programs
the languages, but the situation there is such that if the doorman is
a Serb, the
whole editorial office is proclaimed to be Serb, as well.
You grew up in Pristina.
How are you treated by Albanians who know you?
In the store where
I have bought goods ever since I can remember I was told that
they have problems because of me and that it would be better if I shopped
Afterward I went to stores where they don't know me and spoke English.
Some of my
neighbors acknowledge my presence and some turn their heads away. Some
say that they
are afraid and that they dare not say hello or help me in any way. When
looking after their apartments, everything was fine but now the times
Will you remain
Presently I am in
Kosovska Mitrovica. In comparison with Pristina, this is central
Serbia. I am still working for Radio Kontakt and I will stay here until
last minute I am able to do so.
Translated by S.
Lazovic (August 29, 2000)
NEW YORK TIMES
August 29, 2000
Force Tries to Halt Kosovo Violence
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Aug. 28 -- After new killings of Serbs in Kosovo,
British marines began today to spearhead a new campaign against ethnic
violence. As his commandos searched the streets, the new commander of
peacekeeping troops in the central region of Kosovo, Brig. Robert Fry,
said that fixed checkpoints would be replaced
by patrols to hunt out troublemakers.
A spokesman for
the force, Maj. Tim Pierce, said that some posts would
remain but that more patrols and mobile checkpoints would be used to
to prevent attackers from predicting the force's movements.
was overshadowed by Serbian protests over killings on
Sunday. One victim, Pavle Nedeljkovic, 75, was hit in the head by
automatic gunfire while tending his livestock just outside Crkvena Vodica
in central Kosovo, said the Serbian National Council, an umbrella group.
He was slain hours
after a Serbian boy, Nikola Nikolic, 8, had been run
down by an ethnic Albanian motorist who continued driving and hit two
other children on bicycles and a teenage pedestrian, seriously injuring
in Skulanevo, six miles south.
The deaths provoked
protests in the victims' towns.Today, 1,000 protesters
gathered in the Serbian enclave of Gracanica to demonstrate against
they said was the inability of the peacekeepers and the United Nations
mission to ensure their safety.
An ethnic Albanian
motorist was arrested at a checkpoint after the
hit-and-run incident in Skulanevo, the United Nations police said.
Of Kosovo's Minorities Is "Barbarian"
PRISTINA, Aug 30,
2000 -- (Agence France Presse) Joschka Fischer, the German
foreign minister, lashed out at the "barbarian" treatment
of minority groups by
Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority during a flying visit to the province
"We are very
concerned and shocked by the barbarian attacks on children," Fischer
told a news conference in Pristina. "For us it's crucial that these
brought to justice."
"It's a political
issue how the majority is dealing with minorities ... the situation
minorities will be one of the most important elements in demonstrating
will of the majority to develop and build democracy," he said.
Fischer was speaking
after a weekend in which a 75-year-old Serbian farmer was
shot dead in his fields and an 8-year-old Serbian girl killed by an
ethnic Albanian hit
and run driver.
Ten days before
his visit, 10 Serb children were injured when attackers threw
grenades into a basketball court where they were playing.
violence against minorities has been commonplace in Kosovo
since the arrival of the province's UN administration and KFOR peacekeeping
in June last year.
In the decade before
that, the ethnic Albanian majority population was itself the
target of brutal repression -- and eventually attacks designed to kill
them or drive
them out -- at the hands of the Yugoslavian government and Serbian extremists.
In the build up
to municipal elections in Kosovo in October, the first polls here since
the end of the 1998-1999 civil war, violence against minorities and
ethnic Albanian political factions, appears to be increasing.
Fischer said that
Germany would continue to support rebuilding work and the UN
administration of Kosovo headed by Bernard Kouchner, who sat next to
the news briefing. But he t warned that Kosovo's long-term European
had been undermined by the post-war bloodletting.
the bitterness of the families who lost sons, whose children were
tortured and killed," he said.
"But this can
never be a reason to throw grenades at children. To break up this rule
of violence is a major political issue for all the Albanian parties,
and also for the
Kouchner also attacked
the violence as "not only unacceptable but savage."
Fischer was due
to visit German troops and non-governmental organizations in the
southwest Kosovo town of Prizren before returning to Germany late Tuesday.
warns Kosovo Albanians over
attacks on kids
Aug 29 (Reuters) - Condemning recent violence against
Serb children, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer warned Kosovo
Albanians on Tuesday Europe would judge their democratic credentials
they treat minorities.
Fischer said the German government was particularly appalled that children
had now become victims of the violence plaguing post-war Kosovo and
political leaders from the ethnic Albanian majority to speak out more
"We are very
concerned and shocked at these barbaric attacks on children,"
Fischer told a news conference during a one-day visit to Kosovo. "It's
unacceptable and it must be condemned in the strongest way by all political
Since the United
Nations and NATO moved into Kosovo last year, the province
has been dogged by attacks on Serbs and other minorities by Albanians
embittered by years of Serb repression. Serb leaders say children are
being increasingly targeted.
10 Serb children earlier this month by hurling grenades
onto a basketball court in a village north of the provincial capital
Pristina. Days later, children in another village came under fire but
was wounded, Serb leaders say.
As recently as Sunday,
a Serb child was killed and three more wounded in a
hit-and-run incident near the town of Lipljan. Police have detained
ethnic Albanian but say they do not yet know if the case was an accident
a deliberate attack.
Noting that ethnic
Albanian parties hoped Kosovo would join European
institutions in the long term, Fischer said it was up to the politicians
prove the province met European standards.
"It's a political
issue, how the majority is dealing with minorities," he
said, speaking in English.
of the minorities will be one of the most important elements
in (judging) how serious the political will of the majority in fact
implement and develop democracy," Fischer said. "This is a
The U.N. children's
fund, UNICEF, said it hoped a decision by the new
British commander of peacekeepers in central Kosovo to mount more mobile
patrols would help improve security for children and urged other commanders
to follow suit.
very concerned about the situation for children in Kosovo
who are increasingly in danger, whether due to regrettable accidents
deliberate acts of violence perpetrated against them," the agency
said in a
say ethnic Albanian leaders are now more ready to
condemn violence, if prodded by Western powers, but could still do more
make clear to their own people that the attacks should stop and to catch
"I told the
Albanian side I understand the bitter feelings," said Fischer,
who met U.N. officials, local leaders and German military officers during
his visit. "But that can never be a reason to throw grenades at
San Francisco Bay Guardian, August 23, 2000
Kosovo, Where cops, do-gooders, and privateers run the show
CLOGGED WITH ALMOST
800,000 souls, Pristina, Kosovo, a city of tower
blocks rising from a parched valley floor, now holds twice the
population for which it was built. The air reeks of exhaust and burning
garbage. Ceaseless hot winds blow litter and clouds of gritty dust from
the huge mountain of mine tailings that lies a dozen miles due west.
night one still hears the snap of gunfire and, the next day, rumors
another unsolved murder.
Despite the city's
modernist aesthetic (the place was rebuilt from
scratch after an earthquake in 1963), Pristina has no public
transportation or refuse collection. All the most impressive modernist
buildings downtown have been reduced to bombed-out relics. Throngs of
cell phone-wielding crowds and streams of new Mercedes and Audis choke
the streets below the charred towers. Water and electrical services
intermittent, yet several cybercafés and brothels operate around
Welcome to ground
zero of NATO's reincarnation as what Secretary of
State Madeline Albright has called "a force for peace from the
East to Central Africa." Billed as the greatest humanitarian
intervention since WWII, the U.N.-NATO occupation of Kosovo doesn't
so noble up close. Rather than a multiethnic democracy, Kosovo is
shaping up to be a violent, corrupt, free-market colony.
may talk about "their country," but the foreign-aid
workers in official white SUVs make the real decisions. After NATO's
78-day bombing, the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) was created
as an "interim administration." The U.N., in turn, has opened
a kaleidoscopic jumble of governmental and nongovernmental organizations
(NGOs) ranging from Oxfam to obscure evangelical ministries.
At the apex of it
all sits Bernard Krouchner, the Secretary General's
Special Representative in Kosovo. Founder of Médecins Sans Frontières
and a former socialist, Krouchner took a sharp right turn in the 1980s
when he championed the use of Western (particularly American) military
intervention as the path to human rights. Krouchner's left-wing critics
who argue that American and European corporate power and military aid
are the main causes of human rights violations internationally see
Krouchner as a Clinton-Blair "third way" hypocrite. Meanwhile,
mainstream right-wing commentators see the short, thin Frenchman as
In Kosovo, Krouchner's
responsibilities range from censoring the local
press when it offends him to appointing all local government personnel
to schmoozing with international donors.
Adding muscle to
Krouchner's administrative decisions such as
unilaterally ditching the Yugoslavian dinar for the mark are about 4,000
so called UNMIK police, many of whom are transplanted American cops.
the heavy lifting, Krouchner can count on the 40,000 international
soldiers that make up KFOR, the Kosovo Implementation Force.
Along with putting
down the occasional ethnic riot, protecting convoys
of refugees, and guarding the few small Serb enclaves remaining in
Kosovo, KFOR and the UNMIK police occasionally uncover caches of weapons
belonging to the officially disarmed Kosovo Liberation Army. Such
operations are usually followed up with robust KFOR statements
reaffirming their commitment to "building a multiethnic society."
strangely, the ethnic cleansing this time Albanian against Serb and
(Gypsy) never stops.
is a shit hole. All the young people I meet, I tell 'em: get
out! Go to another country," booms Doc Giles, a tanned, muscled
cop who speaks in a thick, south-Jersey accent. A longtime narc-officer
from hyperviolent Camden, N.J., Giles has spent the last year working
homicide in Pristina with UNMIK. The pack on his bike sports a "Daniel
Faulkner: fallen not forgotten" button. (Faulkner was the cop whom
row inmate and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal may or may not have murdered
18 years ago in Philadelphia.)
view of interethnic relations is sobering: "Look,
all the perps are oo-che-kaa," Giles says, using the Albanian form
the Kosovo Liberation Army's acronym. "They're fucking gangsters.
don't care what anyone says they're an organized crime structure. And
all the judges are either scared or pro-KLA. They're like: you shot
89-year-old Serb grandmother? Good for you. Get out of jail."
Of the province's
276 judges, only two are Serb, so Albanian hit squads
operate with near total impunity. Among their favorite targets during
the last year have been Orthodox churches and monasteries, more than
of which have been burned, looted, or demolished, according to both
U.N. and a detailed report by the Serbian Orthodox Church.
After hearing one
of Giles's rants about KLA death squads and
15-year-old Maldovan girls "turned out" as prostitutes, you'd
agree with his prescription: "What they should've done was put
place under martial law, get a bunch of American cops from cities like
Philly, Dallas, and Denver to come in here and just kick the shit out
everyone for a few months. Then turn it over to your NGOs, or whatever."
also tell stories of KLA thuggery. "Ten percent.
They take 10 percent of everything you make. And you pay or it's kaput,"
says a nervous restaurateur in Prizren, an ancient town near the
Albanian border. He's a Kosovar Turk whose great-grandparents probably
moved here during the twilight of the Ottoman Empire, but he says that
when he gets enough money, he's taking his two children to Canada.
While Giles and
his comrades recycle Albanian "perps" through a
nonworking judicial system, the U.N.'s paper pushers and its partner
organizations are hard at work trying to turn Kosovo into a free-market
"We must privatize
so as to secure investment and new technology. There
is no alternative," says Dianna Stefanova, director of the European
Agency for Reconstruction's office on privatization, which is working
under the auspices of UNMIK and Krouchner.
But the industries
located in Kosovo are not UNMIK's to privatize. Nor
does the wording of Security Council resolution 1244 the document
defining the U.N.'s role in Kosovo give UNMIK the power to sell off
local industries. And when Krouchner made his pitch for mass
privatization to the Security Council in late June, he met with stiff
opposition from the Russians.
Oddly, despite the
U.N.-NATO occupation, resolution 1244 recognizes
Kosovo as an integral province of Yugoslavia and does not empower the
U.N. to privatize. To get around this, Krouchner has devised a creative
bit of legerdemain: the U.N. isn't actually selling off assets; it's
just offering 10- and 15-year leases to foreign transnationals. The
first industry to go was the huge Sharr Cement factory, leased to the
Swiss firm Holderbank. "Sharr could produce all the cement for
reconstruction, and even export," says Roy Dickinson, a privatization
specialist with the European Agency for Reconstruction.
The next assets
on the block are a series of vineyards and wine
cooperatives, but the ultimate prize is the gargantuan Trepca mining
metallurgical complex that sprawls across northern Kosovo and into the
mountains of southern Serbia. Since Roman times, foreign armies have
targeted these massive mineral deposits. Hitler took Trepca in 1940,
thereafter the mines some of the richest in the world supplied German
munitions factories with 40 percent of their lead inputs.
all of Yugoslavia's nickel deposits and three-quarters
of its other mineral wealth; during the 1990s the 42 mines and attendant
factories were one of Yugoslavia's leading export industries.
The Belgrade government
and a private Greek bank that has also invested
in the mines insist that Trepca shall not change hands. The U.N. isn't
so sure. "The question of who gets what will be settled by a panel
judges that UNMIK is still setting up," says a coy Stefanova. In
meantime UNMIK is drawing up plans to downsize local industries and
streamline enterprise to appeal to foreign investors. But there's
another piece in the equation: who controls the land above the mines?
That, of course, brings us back to the issue of ethnic cleansing.
The swift and shallow
river Ibar, bisecting the town of Mitrovic, is the
front line in an unfinished war that pits Albanians against Serbs and
Roma. All non-Albanians have been expelled from south of the Ibar and
all Albanians driven from its northern bank. [Emperor's Clothes note:
Regarding the area North of the Iber, the statement is incorrect,
according to Oliver Ivanovic, a key leader on the North shore. He
insists that a large Albanian community remains, and though relations
are cold the Serbs have no desire to drive these people out; quite the
Thus crossing into
north Mitrovic is much like entering Serbia: the
language, the music, and the beer are all Serbian, and people use the
dinar. This is also the heart of the Trepca complex.
Here, despite occupation
by French troops, the Belgrade government still
pays salaries and pensions and still provides health care. And if even
fraction of U.N. and KFOR accusations are true, then some of the hard
men with mobile phones who lounge at the Dolce Vita Cafe on the banks
the Ibar are probably undercover cops from Serbia (some of whom, you
will recall, have been indicted by the International Tribunal on War
Crimes at the Hague and could be arrested by KFOR).
"We're in a
prison, and under attack," a young Serb named Branislav
says. "If I cross that bridge, I'll be killed."
This, it seems,
is the future: an ethnically "pure" and therefore
"stable" Albanian Kosovo in the south, hosting huge NATO installations
like the sprawling 775-acre American base Bondsteel, with its 4000 G.I.s
on the plains of southeast Kosovo. In the north, on the other hand,
astride some small part of the Trepca mines and in a few other spots,
Serb and Roma ghettos will remain, possibly as parts of Serbia. And
the places where these communities overlap there will be trouble and,
therefore, a plausible reason for the West to maintain a long-term