Serb church detroyed in southeast Kosovo blast

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, July 1 (AFP) - A Serbian Orthodox church
was destroyed by an explosion in the southeastern Kosovo village of
Podgorce, said a spokesman for the KFOR international force
Two people, apparently ethnic Albanians, were detained after the
blast which occurred at 4:30 p.m. (1430 GMT) Friday, said Captain
Russell Berg.
A crowd of some 40 Serbs gathered peacefully by the ruins the
church, located near the volatile and ethnically mixed town of
Vitina, he said.
Serb leaders say some 80 churches and monasteries have been
destroyed or damaged since NATO-led peacekeepers took over security
in the province after Yugoslav forces were bombed out last year.
In another incident in the village of Cernica, near the
southeastern town of Gnjilane, a grenade exploded in the yard of a
Serbian house, causing no injuries, said Berg.
Three people, including a four-year-old child, were shot dead in
the village in May, part of a spate of anti-Serb attacks that have
raised tensions in the Yugoslav province in recent weeks.


Kosovo Serbs board freedom train

KOSOVO POLJE, Yugoslavia, July 2 (AFP) - With a beer in one hand
and a cigarette in the other, Milovan, an 18-year-old Kosovar Serb,
toasts the train which has become a lifeline for his embattled
As a resident of the ethnically mixed town of Kosovo Polje he
lives as a virtual prisoner in his home, fearing to walk the streets
where being a Serb could be his ticket to a beating, or worse.
On board Kosovo's only passenger train, which re-entered service
last week, and surrounded by some 400 of his fellow Serbs, he can
begin to feel free again.
"At night the Albanians throw stones at my window. Normally I
stay cooped up at home. But not today," he explained as the train
took him to the village of Priluzje, where he hoped to buy a new
pair of trousers.
"The train is a little bit of freedom," he explained.
One reason for his confidence is the presence on board the
train, in the stations and on the bridges along the route, of United
Nations police officers and troops of Kosovo's multinational
peacekeeping force, KFOR.
Since June last year when a NATO-led peacekeeping force entered
Kosovo and the Yugoslav army and police left, many Serbs have fallen
victim to revenge attacks carried out by ethnic Albanians, who
themselves suffered oppression during Belgrade's campaign against
separatism in the province.
Under the watchful eyes of the peacekeepers the train links 10
stops, including three villages with majority Serbian populations,
on a route which takes it from Kosovo Polje in the south of the
province to Zvecan in the north.
But if the locomotive, brought from France and christened the
"Catherine Deneuve," was meant to bring the communities of Kosovo
closer together it seems to have missed its stop.
Stations in Serbian areas are packed out, as the province's
minority population seizes the chance to experience a change of
scenery accompanied by an armed escort. Kosovo's ethnic Albanian
majority is unmoved.
"We have been waiting for the train for ages," said Biljana, a
young Serbian woman from Kosovo Polje, travelling with her husband
and three children.
"Today we're going to see my parents who I haven't seen for
seven months, even though they live barely 40 kilometres (25 miles)
away," she said.
Passengers on the Catherine Deneuve don't have to pay for a
ticket, but each is frisked by KFOR troops before they get on board
and overseen by UN police throughout the journey.
On the train's first outing after its return to service a KFOR
helicopter followed overhead as it wound its way across Kosovo's
central plain. Then, despite the beefed up military presence, only a
dozen Serbs dared make the trip.
By Friday the four carriages were heaving as more and more Serbs
seized the opportunity. "Confidence is returning," an Italian
soldier said.
As the train passed the industrial complex at Trepca in the
north of the province, Roma gypsies left their trailer park to cheer
its passage. In the Serbian villages locals gave it their three
figured victory salute. For their part, the ethnic Albanians let it
pass with apparent indifference.
For the tradesmen who packed out the carriages with their crates
of provisions the train has become an economic neccessity. For
Milovan it represents his sole link with the world beyond his
"I have nothing to do but this, it's my only way out," the
student said, wearing a T-shirt with the slogan: "Point zero."


Masked gang stab elderly Serb farmer to death

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, July 2 (AFP) - A masked gang stabbed an
elderly Serbian farmer to death in the latest in a series of attacks
near the southern Kosovar town of Gnjilane, the regional UN police
commander said Sunday.
Garry Carrell said the man, in his eighties, was stabbed in the
back by one of four unknown men as he tended his cows in an attack
near the village of Cernica at 5:15 p.m. (1515 GMT) Saturday.
Three younger Serbs escaped unhurt and their assailants ran off
after the attack, Carrell said.
The official Yugoslav news agency Tanjug reported that ethnic
Albanian cattle rustlers were behind the attack, and named the
victim as 82-year-old Sava Stojkovic.
Carrell said the identities of the attackers, one of whom is
thought to have been carrying a firearm, was unknown and that an
investigation was under way.
The ethnically mixed area around Gnjilane has been the scene of
a series of violent incidents over the past month.
On Friday, a grenade exploded in the yard of a Serb-owned house
in the Cernica, causing no injuries.
On May 28, three people, including a four-year-old child, were
shot dead. An ethnic Albanian was arrested in connection with their
Over the last month at least 12 Serbs have been killed in
Kosovo, which has been administered by the United Nations since June
last year when a NATO-led peacekeeping force took control of the
The UN Security Council resolution which set up the
administration states that Kosovo is to remain part of the Yugoslav
federation but enjoy "substantial autonomy."
This provision falls short of the full independence demanded by
ethnic Albanian politicians and former guerrilla leaders, and the
area remains tense as Serbs and ethnic Albanians continue to settle


July 3, 2000

U.N. Official Warns of Losing the Peace in Kosovo


PRISTINA, Kosovo, July 2 -- As the humane "pillar" of the United
Nations administration in Kosovo prepares to shut down, its job of
emergency relief deemed to be over, its director has some advice for
the next great international mission to rebuild a country: be prepared
to invest as much money and effort in winning the peace as in fighting
the war.

Dennis McNamara, the United Nations special envoy for humanitarian
affairs, regional director for the United Nations high commissioner for
refugees and a deputy to the United Nations chief administrator in Kosovo,
Bernard Kouchner, leaves Kosovo proud of the way the international
community saved lives here after the war, which ended a year ago.

Mr. McNamara helped to coordinate nearly 300 private and government
organizations to provide emergency shelter, food, health care and transport
to nearly one million Kosovo Albanian refugees who have returned.

Despite delays in aid and reconstruction, including severe shortages of
electricity and running water, no one is known to have died here last winter
from exposure or hunger. Up to half of the population -- 900,000 people a
day -- was fed by international agencies last winter and spring, and a
program to clear land mines and unexploded NATO ordnance is
proceeding apace.

But Mr. McNamara, 54, a New Zealander who began his United Nations
refugee work in 1975 with the exodus of the Vietnamese boat people, is
caustic about the continuing and worsening violence against non-Albanian
minorities in Kosovo, especially the remaining Serbs and Roma, or Gypsies.
He says the United Nations, Western governments and NATO have been
too slow and timid in their response.

"There was from the start an environment of tolerance for intolerance and
revenge," he said. "There was no real effort or interest in trying to deter or
stop it. There was an implicit endorsement of it by everybody -- by the
silence of the Albanian political leadership and by the lack of active
discouragement of it by the West."

Action was needed, he said, in the first days and weeks, when the old
images of Albanians forced out of Kosovo on their tractors were replaced
by Serbs fleeing Kosovo on their tractors, and as it became clear that the
effort to push minorities out of Kosovo was continuing and organized.

"This is not why we fought the war," Mr. McNamara said. He noted that
in recent weeks there had been a new spate of comments by Western
leaders, including President Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine K.
Albright and the NATO secretary general, Lord Robertson, warning the
Albanians that the West would not continue its support for Kosovo if
violence against minorities continued at such a pace and in organized

But previous warnings and admonitions have not been followed by any
action, Mr. McNamara noted. In general, he and others suggested, there is
simply a tendency to put an optimistic gloss on events here and to avoid
confrontation with former guerrillas who fought for independence for
Kosovo or with increasingly active gangs of organized criminals.

"This violence against the minorities has been too prolonged and too
widespread not to be systematic," Mr. McNamara said, giving voice to
views that he has made known throughout his time here. "We can't easily
say who's behind it, but we can say we have not seen any organized effort
to stop it or any effort to back up the rhetoric of tolerance from Albanian
leaders with any meaningful action."

In the year since NATO took over complete control of Kosovo and
Serbian troops and policemen left the province, there have been some 500
killings, a disproportionate number of them committed against Serbs and
other minorities.

But there has not been a single conviction. The judicial system is still not
functioning, and local and international officials here say that witnesses are
intimidated or killed and are afraid to come forward, pressure has been put
on some judges to quit and many of those arrested for murder and other
serious crimes have been released, either because of lack of prison space
or the inability to bring them to trial.

Only recently has the United Nations decided to bring in international
prosecutors and judges, but finding them and persuading them to come to
Kosovo has not been easy. And foreign governments have been very slow
to send the police officers they promised to patrol the streets.

Now, some 3,100 of a promised 4,800 have arrived, although Mr.
Kouchner wanted 6,000. The big problem, Mr. McNamara said, is the
generally poor quality of the police officers who have come, some of
whom have had to be sent home because they could neither drive nor
handle their weapons. And coordination between the police and the military
has been haphazard and slow.

"The West should have started to build up institutions of a civil society from
day one," Mr. McNamara said. "And there should have been a wide use of
emergency powers by the military at the beginning to prevent the growth
of this culture of impunity, where no one is punished. I'm a human rights
lawyer, but I'd break the rules to establish order and security at the start, to
get the word out that it's not for free."

Similarly, the NATO troops that form the backbone of the United Nations
peacekeeping force here were too cautious about breaking down the
artificial barrier created by the Serbs in the northern Kosovo town of
Mitrovica, Mr. McNamara said.

Northern Mitrovica is now inhabited almost entirely by Serbs, marking an
informal partition of Kosovo that extends up to the province's border with
the rest of Serbia, creating a zone where the Yugoslav government of
President Slobodan Milosevic exercises significant control, infuriating
Kosovo's Albanian majority.

"Having allowed Mitrovica to slip away in the first days and weeks, it's
very hard to regain it now," Mr. McNamara said. "Why wasn't there
strong action to take control of Mitrovica from the outset? We're living
with the consequences of that now."

In the last two months, as attacks on Serbs have increased again in
Kosovo, Serbs in northern Mitrovica have attacked United Nations aid
workers, equipment and offices, causing Mr. McNamara to pull aid
workers temporarily out of the town. After promises from the effective
leader of the northern Mitrovica Serbs, Oliver Ivanovic, those workers

Another significant problem has been the lack of a "unified command" of
the peacekeeping troops, Mr. McNamara said. Their overall commander,
currently a Spanish general, cannot order around the troops of constituent
countries. Washington controls the American troops, Paris the French ones
and so on.

And there are no common rules of engagement or behavior in the various
countries' military sectors of Kosovo.

"The disparities in the sectors are real," Mr. McNamara said. And after
American troops were stoned as they tried to aid French troops in
Mitrovica last spring, the Pentagon ordered the American commander here
not to send his troops out of the American sector of Kosovo.

While the Pentagon denies a blanket ban, officers in the Kosovo
peacekeeping operation support Mr. McNamara's assertion. They say no
commanders here want to risk their troops in the kind of significant
confrontation required to break down the ethnic barriers of Mitrovica.

The United Nations has had difficulties of organization and financing, Mr.
McNamara readily acknowledges. "But governments must bear the main
responsibility," he said. "Governments decide what the United Nations will
be, and what resources governments commit to the conflict they won't
commit to the peace."

Governments want to dump problems like Kosovo onto the United Nations
to avoid responsibility, he said. The United Nations should develop "a
serious checklist" of requirements and commitments from governments
before it agrees to another Kosovo, Mr. McNamara said, "and the U.N.
should be able to say no."

Tuesday, July 4, 2000

Kosovo's 100,000 Serbs live in an 'open prison'


Patrick Smyth reports from Kosovo in the first of two
articles on the plight of the province's beleaguered

KOSOVO: Slobodan Filipovic was determined we would
understand and that we would tell the world. He went
from the garden to the house and returned with a
bundle of rags. But it was the final straw for his
wife who had sat in silence throughout our discussion
of the murder of their son, Borko.

Now her body shook with pain and she cried out, tears
streamed down her face as her husband held up her
son's jeans for us to see. One leg was little more
than long strands of shredded cloth. The other, barely
a few threads.

Borko Filipovic was killed on June 2nd by a landmine,
freshly laid. His father is convinced the culprit was
almost certainly a neighbour, someone they knew well.
"They did this to their closest neighbour," he said.
"Albanians should see what they have done. Yet these
are the people I once went to with offers of money,
flour and food when they were under pressure to

The new Kosovo is not a place where former kindnesses
or childhood friendships matter. The Filipovics are
ethnic Serbs and now live in what they describe as an
"open jail" in the 1,000-strong rural enclave of
Gornje Dobro close to Gracanica, just south of
Pristina, their lives totally dependent on the Swedish
Kfor battalion's constant presence.

They are typical of the bulk of this country's
remaining 100,000 Serbs, one third of their pre-war
numbers, living a precarious existence in guarded
villages dotted around the countryside. A trip to
another village to school, or to the capital, or to
the Serb border in the north can be only undertaken
with Kfor escort. A paltry 400 live under effective
house arrest in Pristina.

Now that existence is also threatened by hunger. The
fields where the harvest should begin any day are
potential death traps because of mines. That sort of
clearance operation is beyond even NATO.

But the Filipovics are not about to leave, they
insist. This is their country, their land, and they
are determined to stay but are bitter at the daily
provocations and threats. Some 1,000 Serbs have been
killed in this province since Kfor came in last year
yet not one killer has been successfully prosecuted.
As many have disappeared without trace, and the
burning of Serb homes continues. Eighty churches and
monasteries have been destroyed.

Not surprisingly the family is not in conciliatory
mood. They deplore the decision of local moderate
community leaders, led by Gracanica's Bishop Artemje
and his Serb National Council, to return, if only as
observers, to the province's UN-led embryonic
government, the Joint Interim Administrative Council

They support the hardliners of the rival Serb power
centre of Mitrovice, and, like the rest of their
community, they are adamant they will boycott
October's municipal elections.

"We do not recognise them and will not take part,"
says Slavisa Filipovic, Slobodan's brother, arguing
that the inability of exiled Serbs to return, or to
vote from exile because Belgrade will not allow it,
makes them a sham. Kfor's failure to stop the
killings, he says, will make things even worse.
"Within a year there will be no Serbs left." He
insists the Serb police, "our police", should be
allowed to return.

In the neighbouring village of Preoce, the mayor,
Zikica Jorgic, has even less empathy with the pain of
the Albanian community. He, like the Filipovics, still
insists he is part of the real Kosovo majority,
defined in terms of the Serb majority of the joint
populations of Serbia and Kosovo. He dismisses talk of
ethnic cleansing by Serbs - "the Albanians left their
homes of their own volition".

In the ancient monastery at Gracanica, the bishop's
secretary, Father Slava Jancic, in his own right a
prominent spokesman for moderation, acknowledges the
injustices done to Albanians and blames the Milosevic
regime for the plight of his own community. He would
willingly see him handed over for international trial.

But the wrongs done to Albanians must not blind the
international community to what is happening now to
Serbs or to what he sees as the bad faith of the
Albanian leadership, particularly in relation to their
pledge to disband and disarm the Kosovo Liberation
Army. Even "moderates", he says, such as Ibrahim
Rugova, beyond ritual denunciations of killings, "have
not lifted a little finger to protect non-Albanian
people. I ask myself of the moderate Albanian leaders
- are there any?"

A recent massive arms find near the home of the former
chief of staff of the KLA, now head of the unarmed
Kosovo Protection Force, Gen Agim Ceku, has confirmed
their worst fears.

He believes that the apparently separate killings are
part of a coordinated campaign, not just the random
expression of local ethnic hatred, but a strategic
plan to deter Serbs from returning from Serbia and
encouraging others to leave. The strategy, he says, is
based on the idea that a critical mass is needed to
sustain a Serb community in Kosovo.

Below that the community will disintegrate, making the
ultimate aim of Kosovan independence realisable,
whether the international community likes it or not.

Father Slava is under no illusions about the scale of
the gulf that has to be bridged in his appeal for what
we would call parity of esteem. "The level of mutual
hatred and mistrust is so great that if I were to walk
in the streets of Pristina I would be dead within
minutes," he says. He is almost certainly right.

The UN sought yesterday to reassure Kosovo's Albanians
that it had not granted Serbs self-government within
the province or their own parallel security force.
Last week's deal promised the Serbs better security
and access to services. The deal was "the exact
opposite of cantonisation or partition", said the UN.

Wednesday, July 5, 2000

Kosovo Serbs seek the same right of return

Talk of returning Serbs threatens a tense calm in Mitrovice,
reports Patrick Smyth in his final article from Kosovo

KOSOVO: Mitrovice is the key. It is the cauldron in which a new
co-existence will be forged for the new Kosovo, in which Serb and
Albanian will learn to share the province - or where they will prove it
cannot be done.

But Mitrovice, once the northern, grimy heart of Kosovo's mining and
heavy industry, has not been a place of compromise. The main bridge
that spans the River Ibar in the town centre is a jungle of barbed wire
through which minimal traffic passes under the watchful eyes of
French Kfor troops and of Oliver's Boys, the Serb "bridge watchers" of
the Cafe Dolce Vita. It has been the scene of frequent bitter fighting.

In February, eight people died when crowds of Serbs systematically
cleansed flats of their nonSerb inhabitants and 1,700 fled from the
north of the city. Snipers attacked French troops and only a massive
operation by Kfor brought a tense calm which persists today.

Oliver Ivanovic speaks for most of the north of this city, apart from a
couple of small, heavily protected Albanian enclaves, and he would
like to speak for the strategically important cluster of ethnic Serb
villages in the countryside to the north of the city stretching to the
border with Serbia.

The villages are showing signs of willingness to participate in
forthcoming municipal polls, but Mr Ivanovic is holding the line in his
community of some 10,000, the largest single concentration of Serbs in
the province. An industrial engineer, sports fan and father of three, Mr
Ivanovic is an enigma on whom a lot may hang. An outspoken militant
of non-collaboration in the newly emerging institutions of the
province, the organiser of the militia of watchers who warn of Albanian
incursions, he has a charm and intelligence that are immediately

His language - not least his impeccable English - and his fashionable
casual clothes, suggest a sophisticated cosmopolitan. His arguments
are not about conquest or victory but mutual respect and conflict
resolution. His act is pure New Sinn Féin.

Albanians and many UN workers say he is a paid agent of Milosevic.
They have every reason to be suspicious. But he denies it vigorously,
pointing to his contacts in the Belgrade opposition movement and to
others in the community, supporters of Mr Milosevic's party, the SPS,
who hanker after the "return" of the Yugoslav army and receive
salaries from Belgrade.

"It was a dirty war," he says, coming as close as he does to
acknowledging crimes against the Albanian community. "Much
happened, but we cannot be sacrificed because of that. We must not
all be criminalised."

He denies the right of the moderate Bishop Artemije to speak for the
Kosovan Serbs, insisting the latter is unrepresentative. But although
he rejects the legitimacy of, and hence participation in, the UN-led Joint
Interim Administrative Council, the pragmatic Ivanovic is talking to his
Albanian Mitrovice counterpart, a former KLA fighter, Bajram Rexhepi.
Six joint committees are working on plans to co-administer the city.

"Participation at municipal level is just ordinary life," he says. "It's not
politics." No?

Nor, by the same strange rationale, is the agreement he signed with Dr
Rexhepi 10 days ago to jointly reopen a cement factory in the nearly
jobless city with a mixed workforce. Other similar ventures are in the
pipeline involving the once-giant TREPCE manufacturing combine.
Central to his demands is "the same right of return for displaced Serbs
as for Albanians".

"I am not asking more than that enough Serbs should be brought back
so that they can protect themselves," he argues. Even a couple of
thousand, he says, could help give new confidence, hinting at the
possibility that significant returns could help lead to a reappraisal of
the boycott strategy.

To the man who runs the city for the UN and must keep a lid on its
explosive communal tensions, the Serb returns issue is critical. The
former US general, Bill Nash, a blunt-speaking cowboy of a man,
stresses that this a personal view not shared by the UN or Kfor
leaderships. He believes they must take a chance and push for
significant returns this year. "If we start there a number of logjams can
be broken," he argues.

"The problem of soldiers is that they really take security stuff
seriously," Mr Nash complains. Security does not have to be perfect,
just better than walking the streets of Washington, he argues.

But the head of the UN's civil administration in Kosovo, Tom Koenigs,
disagrees, at least for the time being. "The tension in the country is so
high that whatever location for Serb returns is made public immediately
becomes a centre of crisis," he says.

Dennis McNamara, the head of the UNHCR in the province tends to
Mr Nash's view. "The political necessity for the return of the Serbs is
very real," he says, insisting that it should be this year. He puts the
figure of potential Serb returns from Serbia and Montenegro at 150,000.
The UNHCR is testing the water to see where such returns can happen,
"but we will not be bringing them back to armed enclaves. That is not a

Mr Nash also has a somewhat less jaundiced view of Mr Ivanovic than
many. He argues that the difference between the Gracanica and
Mitrovice leaderships is not one of principle, of moderation versus
extremism, but reflects strategic differences.

The latter, he argues, believe they can best use their undoubted
negotiating weight to extract concessions before they enter
power-sharing institutions where their influence will inevitably decline.

"What makes Mitrovice significant is that the Serb minority is
substantial," he argues. "Like any other game you use your political
capital." And Mr Ivanovic is a player Mr Nash can deal with.

It's as close as they come to optimism in this tormented province.


Danas, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
July 5, 2000

Six mortar grenades fall close to Velika Hoca

Velika Hoca (Beta) - Six mortar projectivles fell two nights ago in the outskirts of Velika Hoca but no one was hurt and no material damage was done, report Serb sources from southwest Kosovo.

Shortly after 9:00 p.m., five grenades exploded in a field close to Velika Hoca while one grenade failed to explode upon impact. The grenade explosions were accompanied by two rounds fired from an automatic weapons, the same sources reported.

The UN police in Kosovo arrived on the spot to investigate 10 minutes following the incident and confirmed the attack on the area of Velika Hoca without providing further details. There are approximately 1,000 Serbs living in Velika Hoca and that village, together with nearby Orahovac, constitutes the only Serb enclave in southwest Kosovo.

Blic, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
July 6, 2000

Three Serbs injured in Albanian attack near Ranilug

Convoy unaccompanied by KFOR stoned

STRPCE (Beta) - Three persons of Serb nationality were injured two nights ago near the village of Pozaranje on the road from Gnjilane to Strpce when a group of Albanians stoned the convoy of Serb vehicles. American KFOR soldiers advised on Friday that they are discontinuing the accompaniment of Serb convoys from Strpce toward central Serbia.

A convoy consisting of five buses, several trucks and automobiles arrived two nights ago in the village of Ranilug and requested accompaniment from American soldiers at the checkpoint as far as Strpce. After accompaniment was denied, the convoy headed out without accompaniment for Strpce.

While passing through the village of Pozaranje near Gnjilane, the Albanians stoned the vehicles and injured three persons who were treated at the first military checkpoint near Strpce.

Because of the kidnapping and murder of Bozidar Markocevic, the Serbs in Strpce during the past 15 days first protested in front of the headquarters of the UN mission in the municipality, then destroyed the offices of the mission, and 24 Serbs, in a sign of solidarity with the civilian population, withdrew from the Kosovo police and the local administration.

The Serbian National Assembly (SNS) and the municipal assembly of Strpce sent a letter of protest yesterday to UNMIK head Bernard Kouchner, KFOR commander general Juan Ortuno and UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

The president of the SNS of Strpce Petar Saric stated that the letter expressed a protest on behalf of the 12,000 residents of Sirinicka Zupa because of the act of blackmail by UN forces in Kosmet by which they have suspended departures of “convoys for Serbia until cooperation with UNMIK and KFOR improves”.

“We protest the exaggeration of damages caused by the Serbs in the offices of the civil administrator of UNMIK in Strpce,” the letter emphasizes and reminds that the incident occurred when the residents of that Serb enclave gathered spontaneously upon hearing news of the kidnapping of Bozidar Markocevic.

“Instead of sympathy because of the new tragedy which occurred, KFOR is ‘shouting from the rooftops’ about a few broken windows and smashed inventory, which we condemned. However, not once have they mentioned the deceased Markocevic,” the letter states.


Kosovo: From Difficult to Impossible
2246 GMT, 000706

Angry over security concessions that the United Nations has granted to
ethnic Serbs, Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leader, Hashim Thaci, has
temporarily withdrawn from Kosovo’s interim civilian government.

The most powerful Albanian figure in Kosovo, Thaci is openly challenging
the United Nations for control. He is setting up a confrontation in
which he is likely to prevail, forcing the international community to
reverse its agreement with the Serbs, proving that he – and not the U.N.
– is the true power in Kosovo. There are broader signs of rebellion,
too; international forces recently seized 70 tons of weapons, over the
protests of ethnic Albanians.

Even before the war, which ended one year ago last month, the Kosovo’s
ethnic Albanian leadership and the international community have pursued
distinctly separate goals. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) – its
political wing led by Thaci – waged a war for independence; NATO and
later the United Nations have pursued a peaceful multi-ethnic
co-existence, short of independence. And the province’s Serb population
has increasingly grown to believe that the international community
favors the ethnic Albanian community.

Several facts appear to prove the Serb population right: NATO stood by
while Serbs fled, the alliance accepted a local administration dominated
by Thaci, and the ranks of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) have been
filled with members of the officially disbanded KLA. Unsurprisingly,
Serbs have largely boycotted the Interim Administrative Council (IAC),
the civilian governmental authority set up by the United Nations.

With the Serbs in protest, the director of the U.N. administration,
Bernard Kouchner, arranged a deal which would have granted Serbs
additional protection, partly with the help of a Serb security force. In
exchange, Serb representatives would participate in the interim
government. This infuriated Thaci, who suspended his own cooperation
with the IAC; the existence of a Serb police force in Serb-majority
regions of Kosovo could trigger a de facto split of the territory.

More importantly, Kouchner’s deal indicates that NATO and the United
Nations are finally thinking like the locals – understanding that the
Albanians and Serbs simply don’t trust each other. This dawning
realization threatens Thaci, since he’s done quite well manipulating
NATO and the United Nations. Still, neither is adept at playing the
Balkan game.

With the KPC in his pocket, Thaci does not have to do much to put a
casualty-averse NATO in an intolerable position. Already, anti-KFOR
protests are erupting among Kosovar Albanians. On June 28, 1,000 Kosovo
Albanians protested against the KFOR seizure of a 70 ton KLA weapons
cache, anti-tank rockets, mortars, grenades and machine guns. According
to Agence France Presse, protestors shouted a slogan unthinkable a year
ago, when peacekeepers first entered: “KFOR out of Kosovo!”

The United Nation’s already difficult position is getting invariably
worse. By withdrawing his participation from the local government, Thaci
is showing he has the ability – and will – to sabotage the entire U.N.
operation. The United Nations will ultimately find it next to impossible
to govern the province until Thaci and his party again pledge their

But Thaci’s boycott unearths a more serious threat. If Thaci withdraws
his military, as well as political support, the international operation
stops being difficult and starts being impossible. As a result, the
United Nations will probably give in to Thaci. A spokesman for Kouchner
has reportedly made conciliatory statements, denying any desire to
partition Kosovo or let the Serb “neighborhood watch” – as it is called
– wear uniforms or carry weapons. The next step will be dismantling of
the security improvements the United Nations has managed to give the

Thaci now appears to have all of the cards. Now it’s just a matter of
finding the proper semantics to hide the fact that Thaci is in control,
not the United Nations, and to save Western face. The protests in
Mitrovica in February demonstrated that Thaci could force the United
Nations to be explicitly pro-Albanian.

Now, in threatening to destroy the interim government, Thaci is driving
the point home. He is making it abundantly clear that there can be a
U.N. operation without the Serbs – but not without Thaci. When events
play themselves out, he will be one step closer to his original goal: an
ethnic Albanian state.


Kosovo: UN, KFOR Struggle To Protect Serbs
By Jolyon Naegele

Kosovo has become a relatively stable and peaceful place for the
Albanian majority. But Kosovo's minority Serbs remain frustrated and
dissatisfied. In the first part of a series on life in Kosovo, RFE/RL
correspondent Jolyon Naegele reports from Pristina on how the UN
administration and the KFOR peacekeeping troops are dealing with the
problems of Kosovo's Serbs.

Pristina, 7 July 2000 (RFE/RL) -- Kosovo's Albanian majority has never
enjoyed as much freedom from oppression as now. More than a decade of
Serb-imposed restrictions and repression is now history. The
international community has pledged to remain in Kosovo for decades if
need be to ensure the stabilization and democratization of Kosovo

The limitations the Albanians face are what one might expect one year
after an armed conflict -- landmines, power and water shortages,
unemployment, and the danger of ethnic confrontation in certain
Serb-inhabited areas.

But for non-Albanian indigenous residents, particularly Serbs and Roma,
Kosovo remains a very dangerous place to live. And it is an even more
dangerous place to move about in, because of the risk of shootings,
stonings, and mines.

Most of the province's 200,000 Serbs fled a year ago. Some have returned
to the province from their exile, and many more would like to. But the
spate of anti-Serbian drive-by shootings and bombings since late May has
made Serbs afraid to come home.

UN statistics show that Kosovo's Serbs, who currently constitute less
than 5 percent of the province's population, are six times more likely
than Albanians to be murdered.

The UN police report for the Pristina region for a single day last week
(Wednesday) is a good snapshot of the current level of violence. It
includes a grenade attack, an attempted abduction, an assault by a group
of Albanian males on an elderly Serb, the discovery of a charred body.
Elsewhere in the province, things were hardly any better, with
explosions, gunfire and mob attacks -- some Albanian, some Serb -- on UN
facilities. From now on, KFOR refuses to provide escorts and is
redirecting humanitarian aid to areas where the local population is
willing to cooperate.

KFOR's commander, Spanish General Juan Ortuno, is clear about the
challenge facing his peacekeepers: "The biggest challenge for Kosovo is
the enforcement of law and order because it is not only [necessary] to
build it but to change the culture [of law and order], to change the
relationship between you [the people of Kosovo] and the judicial system,
the police, etc."

The UN's chief administrator in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, has been
trying to revive Serb participation in the joint interim administration.
He signed an agreement last week with Serbian Orthodox Bishop Artemije
Radosavljevic, who heads the relatively moderate Gracanica-based Serb
National Council.

The deal permits the establishment of neighborhood watch groups, which
some Kosovo Albanian leaders say is tantamount to establishing a Serbian
security force and the first step toward cantonization. The deal sparked
a walkout this week by one of the Albanian leaders in the joint
administration, Hashim Thaci, who argues that the UN should have
consulted his Kosovo Democratic Party before signing the deal.

The deal does not appear to cover the more radical Serbian community to
the north in Mitrovica. The town's Serbs maintain their own system of
vigilante "bridge watchers," who keep a close eye on outsiders crossing
the Ibar River to the mainly Serbian neighborhood. French peacekeepers
have largely tolerated the bridgewatchers.

In contrast, in Bishop Artemije's bastion at Gracanica and other nearby
Serbian villages in KFOR's central zone, British and Scandinavian
peacekeepers have been implementing "Operation Trojan" to secure the
security and welfare of the local Serbs. Operation Trojan also ensures
that if violence does erupt, KFOR can contain and suppress it. The
operation entails the standard roadblocks at each end of Serb-inhabited
villages and neighborhoods, plus watchtowers to provide security not
only to the villages but to the surrounding fields as well. The program
places considerable reliance on intelligence operations.

The latest addition to Operation Trojan, albeit nearly three weeks
behind schedule, has been the introduction in late June of daily
passenger train service linking Serbian communities in the broad Kosovo
Polje valley between Urosevac in the south and Mitrovica and Zvecan in
the north. UN police and KFOR peacekeepers guard the train and the
route. The service for the first time offers a relatively safe way for
Serbs in communities in the broad valley (of Kosovo Polje) to move
about, see relatives and shop.

Meanwhile, the international community is fighting an uphill battle to
persuade Kosovo's Serbs to register to vote. Local elections are due in
October, and the deadline for voter registration is July 15. Some
800,000 Kosovo inhabitants have registered so far. But Serbs have
generally chosen not to register, despite the establishment of some 400
registration sites around the province and mobile registration sites
being sent to ethnic enclaves.

Kouchner has warned that the Serbs risk eliminating themselves from
Kosovo's future by their apparent boycott of voter registration.

"I hope it will change, because we need the Serbs for good elections,
and they have to be absolutely involved. If they want to stay in Kosovo
and be a part of the future of Kosovo, they must vote," Kouchner said.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is in
charge of the elections, has announced new tactics to persuade residents
to register, including offering shopping discounts and organizing
concerts, a traveling street theater and fun-runs to registration sites.
So far, the Serbs are unconvinced.


Serb Village Attacked by Mortars in Kosovo

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, July 9 (AFP) - A village belonging to the
Serbian minority community in Kosovo came under fire probably from
mortars during Saturday night, the international peace force KFOR
said Sunday.
Five explosions and bursts of automatic fire were heard near
Gorazdevac, the main Serb community in the district of Pec in the
west of the Yugoslav province, a spokesman said.
There were no casualties or major damage, he added.
A Serb source in the village said 11 mortar shells had landed in
fields near houses without causing injury to the 800 inhabitants, or
any damage.
The official Yugoslav news agency Tanjug described the incident
as a terrorist attack.
The term "terrorist" is used by the official media in Belgrade
to describe armed actions by separatist ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
Sporadic bursts of automatic could be heard throughout the
night, according to the Serb source contacted by telephone from
Italian units with the international peacekeeping force arrived
later to carry out searches, the KFOR spokesman said.


NIN, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Issue 2584, July 6, 2000

Vidovdan dust


The Serbian Patriarch Kyr Pavle had barely set foot in Kosovo on June 27 before he
was subjected to discomfiture. At the checkpoint at Merdare Scotsmen, members of the British KFOR contingent, demanded to search the Serbian patriarch. And they would
have done it if the former episcope of Zahumlje and Herzegovina had not shouted at
them. The KFOR soldiers asked that the patriarch show them a diplomatic passport if
he thought he was going to enter Kosovo and Metohija without being searched. Bishop
Atanasije, according to those who were present at the time, removed from the left
pocket of his cloak a bishop's medallion bearing a sacred image and roared with all
his might: "This is our passport!" The Scotsmen swore at the bishop but they did not
search the Serbian Patriarch Kyr Pavle.

"What the spiritual head of our church experienced in Kosovo, in his land, where he
lived with the people for more than thirty four years, is shameful," says Archdeacon
Vasilije Delic.

The arrival of Patriarch Pavle once again reminded the Serbs that in Kosovo and
Metohija they have lost almost all rights. The only thing that ordinary Serbs in
Kosovo can decide on these days is, for example, who will be named the Maiden of
Kosovo 2000. However, even this apparently innocent cultural event is misused for
political purposes. Several days after the Maiden of Kosovo 2000 was chosen in
Gracanica, another beautiful young lady was chosen in Kosovska Mitrovica who
probably will not have the opportunity to participate in the selection of Miss

The Vidovdan Poetic Evening was attended by a few hundred residents of Gracanica and
by the Serbian patriarch; the bishop of Raska and Prizren, Artemije; Bishop
Atanasije; and the bishop of Vranje, Pahomije, as well as by representatives of the
Serbian National Assembly of the Kosovo district and the Committee of the federal
government for cooperation with the international mission in Kosovo and Metohija.

Even though last year in the same place for perhaps the first time almost all
representatives of the Serbs gathered in one place, unfortunately, this was not a
sign that all the Serbs had finally reached a compromise and formed a common
political "platform" which would make their actions and influence on the
international community more effective. On the contrary, what was demonstrated was
that the differences are so deep that Slobodan Ilic, the president of the Serbian
National Assembly of the Kosovo district, was of the opinion that one should not go
"together with the cloak-wearers" to Vidovdan in Gazimestan.

"But those are our heroes, too. What do we care about [the monks]? It is our right,
as well, to take our flowers to Gazimestan," said Todorovic, who was supported by
Dr. Miroslav Mica Popovic, the director of the health care center in Gracanica.

The broken line

For some Serbs present at Gazimestan on Vidovdan, where a commemorative service
(parastos) was served for the heroes of Kosovo who perished in 1389 as well as for
those who were victims in more recent events in Kosovo, this was the first time they
left Pristina in a year. Some of the 150 people who still live in Pristina were
interviewed by this reporter on June 29. Stepping out of an armored UN jeep which
was, according to KFOR soldiers, impervious even to land mines, the reporter saw on
the asphalt a broken white line which divided the narrow path between the buildings
in half. It was easy to recognize the entrance to "Ulpijana", the building where
approximately 150 Serbs live, by the planted stakes, red plastic ribbons and
"bunkers" created out of bags full of earth and sand. The cloak of Protosyncellus
Sava Janjic causes disbelief among the Albanian neighbors who eye every move on the
other side of the broken line. The English KFOR soldiers were truly nervous when the
reporter turned her camera toward the windows of the neighboring building, popularly
called "Drenica".

"Even when we are playing we are not allowed to cross that line, and when the
soldiers don't watch us, then they throw things at us. Once they hit me with a rock,
a small one, in the shoulder and I had a bruise," says nine year-old Milijana Jokic
who, like the other children, goes by armored transporter to the school in Laplje

The adults are exhausted by fear, empty stories and poverty. When asked what he
hoped for, Dobrotin Gavrilovic says: "All of us are waiting for hope. I don't want
to go to Serbia because of the poverty there and I have heard that we are not
welcome there, either. They call us Shiptars." He adds that he will not change his
decision despite the fact that he has three children - Jelena (11), Milivoj (10) and
Ivana (6) - even though thirteen year-old Katarina Savic was recently beaten up.

"She was waylaid by two Shiptar boys and a girl. The girl smacked her across the
face without any provocation whatsoever. Kaca [Katarina] caught her hand and said
that no one was allowed to beat her even though she was a Serb. The Albanian girl's
boyfriend then struck her and knocked her out cold. The other boy took a rock and
hit her with it while she was laying on the ground," says Konstantin Filipovic, who
visited Katarina in the Russian hospital in Kosovo Polje, adding: "She and her
family moved to Serbia after that."

Even though KFOR has ordered the Albanians who have stores in the vicinity that they
must sell basic food items and hygiene supplies to the Serbs, they are not doing so.
Partially out of patriotism but more out of fear of their compatriots.

"If word got out that someone helped us, they would throw a bomb at his store
immediately," says Jelisaveta Jovanovic and adds: "Almost every day, for several
hours, only we Serbs have no water or electricity and phone service was cut off a
long time ago. From ADRA they bring us fresh vegetables and a little bit of fruit
for the children. We eat what we get from the humanitarian workers and frequently we
have to throw out half of it because it is spoiled. But I can't say anything bad
about these Englishmen, the soldiers. They will even listen to us sometimes, they go
to the store for us, sometimes they even pay for us. They really take care of us as
if they were our own army".

Full circle

None of the Serbs from Prizren came to Gazimestan for Vidovdan except Father Miron
Kosac. Some of the ten odd Serbs who remain in the Prizren Seminary (Bogoslovija)
believed and would have sworn, like Radmila Drekovic, that by Vidovdan
general-colonel Nebojsa Pavkovic would return to Kosovo and Metohija and that
Slobodan Milosevic, the president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, would hold
a speech this year in Gazimestan like he did in 1989. However, even though this has
not happened, Radmila refused to be misled, saying only: "You'll see, they'll come
next year."

How difficult the situation is in the Prizren Seminary is best attested to by the
fact that Bishop Artemije these days must make another difficult decision: what to
do with the Serbs and the seminary. Living in the same building with the Serbs are
Romanies and Albanians who are afraid that their neighbors and compatriots may kill

"With the representatives of the international community, we will have to find
accommodations for these people and it is most probable that we will entrust the
Germans to take care of the building because that is the only way that we can
preserve the seminary," says Bishop Artemije and adds that he cannot allow the
Romanies and Albanians to completely destroy the seminary in Prizren. "Instead of
protecting their only place of sanctuary, they have almost completely demolished

It is safe to say that during recent weeks KFOR has further complicated the lives of
the Serbs. Now it is practically impossible for them to move about Kosovo and
Metohija because KFOR has reduced the number of escorts so that even this reporter
had a problem getting from Gracanica to the former municipal building in which KFOR
now issues the press accreditations without which one cannot even get an escort to
return, let alone to go, for example, to Klecka and see for oneself whether KFOR in
fact destroyed all four warehouses of weapons, ammunitions and explosives of the
Kosovo Liberation Army. Every trip without an escort represents a life-threatening
danger for the Serbs and consequently many of them do not travel unless it is out of
dire necessity.

Recently Father Nektarije Vorgucic of the monastery of the Holy Archangels near
Prizren visited Gornja Mahala on the far end of Sredacka Zupa where he met eighty
year-old Natalija Milosavljevic who has been living completely alone for more than a
year. Once a week Natalija is visited by her neighbor Torbesi who works for a
humanitarian organization and brings her food. "Grandmother Natalija says that one
can of liver pate can last for as long as four days. I asked her if it was hard for
her to be alone for so long. She told me that she missed her grandchildren and that
she grows sad when she goes down to the villages and sees that all the houses have
been burnt down," says Father Nektarije and adds that the German KFOR soldier who
escorted him gave Natalia a radio. "He was touched by her tragedy and wanted to do
something so she would feel less alone. So he gave Grandmother Natalija a transistor
radio as a gift."

NIN, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Issue 2584, July 6, 2000

The extinction of the spirit

On Vidovdan the church bells did not ring out on many churches and monasteries in
Kosovo and Metohija. they have been transformed into ruins


While staying in Kosovo and Metohija during the period of the first open threats of
NATO in 1998, Swiss ecologist Franz Weber, known throughout the world as a great
fighter for the defense of natural and cultural values of humanity, presented this
spiritual heritage as "priceless treasures, masterpieces of European art and
culture". Awed by what he saw, especially by the high concentration of such valuable
buildings and historical markers within a small place, he proposed that the whole
district of Kosovo and Metohija be placed under the protection of UNESCO.

Today, two years later, the patriarch of Moscow and all of Russia, Alexei II,
commenting on television pictures of the destruction of the holy sites of Orthodox
culture and civilization, states that "what we are seeing in Kosmet is not only
genocide against the Serbian people but also against culture and civilization as a

Unfortunately, the scenes of destruction continue to reappear. The monastery of High
Decani, whose complex Franz Weber described as being "in universality with the
cosmos" was recently subject to mortar attack for the second time in the last six
months. Six mortars fell close to the church and the monastery residence hall!

87 churches and monasteries destroyed

Whenever such an attack or a similar one occurs, people who are aware of the
priceless value of the Kosovo and Metohija treasure-house must ask themselves what
are the consequences and whether any of this endangered spiritual treasure has been
removed to a safer place?

"Only a small part of the treasury has been relocated," says Professor Slobodan
Mileusnic, director of the museum of the Serbian Orthodox Church. "This was done
earlier, in the period when war began in the region of the former SFRY. Our fears
are completely logically because attacks on Kosovo valuables never ceased. Kosovo
and Metohija did not become the wound of the Serbian people yesterday..."

The Serbian Orthodox Church reminds us of the letter which the Holy Synod of
Archpriests sent in 1969 to the president of SFRY, Josip Broz Tito, which listed the
many attacks on the property and clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church and warned of
violations of civil and religious rights. The letter did no good; on the contrary,
the number of attacks and victims increased!

"The Serbian Orthodox Church and all those who helped to save its spiritual legacy
could not protect the holy property nor the material and spiritual goods of the
church. In addition to this, many items used in worship and works of art which are
an integral part of any church or monastery were left in them. Because if the icons,
items used in worship and religious books were removed, then these holy sites would
no longer be functional in the worship of God," explains Mileusnic.

Unfortunately, much of this has already been destroyed. Now it is even difficult to
determine what has been destroyed, damaged, looted and devastated where and to what
degree. The Serbian Orthodox Church has information on 87 destroyed churches and

"This represents a loss not only for the Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church but
for the entire civilized world because items of cultural value and high artistic
significance created centuries ago have been destroyed. It is especially tragic that
many churches decorated with frescoes from the Middle Ages have been destroyed. They
are irreproducible," says Mileusnic sadly.

In addition to this, every church is a separate treasure-house. For example, just
the iconostasis in an Orthodox church consists of between 21 and 70 icons. There
are, additionally, icons which are kissed by the worshippers and banners with icons,
vessels used during liturgy, priests' vestments and various items used during

The Albanian extremists have developed an entire system for destroying Serbian holy
sites, churches and monasteries: first they are looted, then they are devastated and
demolished, then they are set on fire, then mined (several times until they are
leveled to the ground) and most recently they have begun to even remove the
remaining materials in order to erase every sign of the fact that an Orthodox church
serving God once existed in a given place.

Albanians - former protectors

However, despite everything, the Serbian Orthodox Church also reminds of the
Christian and Orthodox belief according to which churches and monasteries do not die
but only, as a result of destruction by an enemy or some other catastrophe, become
dormant. When the right conditions are created, they are rebuilt and again placed in
the service of the holy mission.

The director of the museum of the Serbian Orthodox Church reminds that the
destruction of the greatest number of churches and monasteries in the centuries-old
history of the Serbian people occurred in this past year since the arrival of KFOR.
It is paradoxical, he says, that some of the churches and monasteries destroyed were
located only several dozen meters from the "peacekeepers"!

It would be unjust to generalize about all members of KFOR. Special mention must be
made of the Italians who also participate in worship services in Decani.

"The results of the so-called protection are apparent. What is being said and what
is being done are two different things. This, too, is a sign of the time of
spiritual crisis in which we live," says Mileusnic with resignation, alluding to
those who do not wish to feel the spirituality of these great sites of Christianity.

Currently, the only true protectors of Serbian holy sites in Kosovo and Metohija,
says the director of the museum of the Serbian Orthodox Church, are the priests, the
monks, the archpriests and the patriarch, who uses every opportunity to go there,
and the remaining Orthodox people.

>From the holy sites of Kosovo nothing more can be taken because KFOR will not permit
it. Those rare relics which are found among the ruins are taken by the clergy to
other churches and monasteries. Unfortunately, those are only trifles in comparison
to what is destroyed in those places. At first, the clergy and the monks could
barely keep up with burial rites for the victims, let alone search through ruins.

In the Serbian Orthodox Church there is some surprise because of the silence of the
local Albanian population which frequently came to the Serbian holy sites to ask for
help. For example, Decani for centuries has been enjoyed a cult status among
Albanians. Many came here as if the holy site was their own and asked for the help
and protection of the Holy King Stefan of Decani. This monastery, as well as others,
was protected by the most respected Albanian families of the past. That is why
during ceremonies the elders of those families, the protectors of the holy sites,
sat at the head of the table, immediately next to the patriarch and the prior.

God's help and punishment

During the period of the latest war activities, the monks of the monastery of Decani
received, protected and helped a significant number of Albanian residents.
Unfortunately, today they do not come, or perhaps they are afraid to come, to return
the hospitality.

Another object of great cult status among the Albanians was the monastery of
Zociste, one of the oldest of Serbian holy sites. The monastery church of Saints
Kozmo and Damjan was mentioned as far back as the charter of Stefan of Decani in
1327. The relics (mosti) of St. Kozmo were kept in the monastery chapel while in the
foothills of the church there is a spring with healing water for the eyes for which
both the monastery and the village were named: Zociste - healing place for the eyes.
This holy site was very famous for its miraculous cures. Legend says that the relics
(mosti) of the Holy Prophets helped to heal the daughter of the Persian emperor who
was not in her right mind and who recovered here.

The clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church that this monastery was visited by more
members of the Muhammedan faith than of the Christian who came looking for help.
Unfortunately, on September 13 of last year, Albanian extremists destroyed this

Several days after the monastery was destroyed, the ruins were photographed. When
the photographs were developed, according to the story which quickly spread, the
photographers were amazed to see a monk on one of the photos who was not there when
the picture was taken. Their surprise was even greater when they learned that this
monk died several years ago.

The Patriarchate of the Serbian Orthodox Church has also heard news that the persons
who destroyed this holy site "lost their minds" and that the local Albanians out of
fear were clearing the debris and beginning to rebuild the church.

If this is true, then even the destroyers of the churches must believe that churches
and monasteries, truly, do not die!


Serb severely beaten in Albanian area of divided Kosovo town

BELGRADE, July 11 (AFP) - A Serbian man was severely beaten late
Monday in front of his house in the ethnic Albanian part of the
divided northern Kosovo town of Kosovska Mitrovica, a Serbian doctor
said Tuesday.
Miroljub Koljensic was admitted to the Serbian hospital in the
northern part of Mitrovica at around 3:00 a.m. (O1OO GMT) Tuesday
with serious injuries, including a fractured skull, doctor
Aleksandar Vasic from the hospital told AFP by phone.
Koljensic was in a critical condition, the doctor said, adding
that he would probably be tranferred to a Belgrade hospital for
further treatement.
According to Vasic, Koljensic said that four ethnic Albanians
broke into his house in the southern Mitrovica, dragged him outside
and beat him.
Koljensic was one in a few Serbs still living with their
families in the mostly Albanian-populated south of the town.
Mitrovica, divided between the mainly Serbian north and the
ethnic Albanian area to the south of the Ibar river, has been the
scene of intense violence between the two communities since NATO-led
peacekeepers arrived in June last year.

New Paramilitary Army is Ready in Macedonia!

The Prime Minister was seriously warned about grave security implications of
unhindered activities and organization of various paramilitary groups set up by
the former "KLA", currently the Kosovo Protection Corps, which is also active in
Macedonia. However, the Prime minister's hands are obviously tied by certain
secret obligations to Arben Xhaferi, a distinguished Kosovo official because of
which he is blocking the work of Macedonian state institutions in charge of the
security of the country

by Mirka Velinovska

Start, Skopje, Macedonia, June 2, 2000

Prime Minister Ljupco Georgievski, together with Arben Xhaferi announced that
inter-ethnic relations in Macedonia are "relaxed" thanks to their "policy".
Start has again found out from its sources in the Macedonian government what
that "relaxation" implies. The Prime Minister is obviously not paying attention
to reports, and assessments of even his most trusted collaborators. On the
contrary, he is completely neglecting the serious character of the security
situation in the country, because of his obligations to Arben Xhaferi and
pan-Albanian cause, whose realization has already started on the Macedonian

Nikola Kosteski, a former captain of the Yugoslav people's Army, the owner of
the publishing company "Gjurgja" and co-owner of the VMRO company "Goce Delcev"
has been promoted into a colonel of the Macedonian Army an even appointed for
the advisor to the Ministry of Defense. Kosteski has recently sent to his boss
Georgievski a very serious report. In that report, the Prime Minister, if he
wanted to, could have read numerous indications about the security situation in
the country obtained by the Security and Intelligence Service of the Macedonian

Agents of this service within the Defense Ministry report that the preparations
for armed actions by the Kosovo Protection Crops in the region of Presevo,
Medvedja, and Bujanovac are under way. The goal of these armed actions is to if
possible include villages (and supporters) in the foothills of the Skopje Crna
Gora [black mountain], near the border with the FRY, Lojane, Baksince, and
Belanovce. These villages, according to the strategists of the "Kosovo-state",
should become a part of that state.

The preparation of the terrain for "thermal" treatment has been done by the
Kosovo intelligence service SHIK, which is also active in north-western
Macedonia. Start has already on several occasions written that the task of that
service is to locate and recruit radicals among Albanians in Macedonia, and
prepare logistic support centers. Therefore, the most recent report by the
agents concludes that in Macedonia there are already secret cashes of weapons,
ammunition, food and first aid material. On this occasion Kosteski reminded his
boss Georgievski that his service had "located secret cashes in the villages of
Lojane, Crn Vrv, and nearby villages Vejce, Vesala and Bozovce," all of them on
the Sar Mountain, recently renamed by Albanians as "sunny slope". This is
probably the source of the resistance of the political elite of PDPA-NDP and PDP
[ethnic Albanian political parties in Macedonia] to the idea of converting the
Sar Mountain into a national park. They obviously prefer that the mountain
become a storage depot for weapons and soldiers of the "KLA" until they realize
their idea of a pan-Albanian state.

Colonel Kosteski informed his Prime Minister that his service had information
that similar intensified preparations are under way in the region of Struga. The
Macedonian government was informed that the service had confirmed reports about
the founding of "The Albanian National Army" (AKSH) with only one goal - "the
liberation of Albanian territories under Slav domination". AKSH was founded by
the former members of the "KLA", both citizens of Macedonia or those who are
temporarily in our state. Among them, notes Kosteski, are also former members of
the Macedonian Army, such as Abdul Shasivari and Gola Shala, both of them with
the rank of captain.

This report to the Prime Minister and other recipients, emphasizes that the
activities in connection with the founding of the so-called "AKSH" on our
territory also include crisis headquarters. The most active ones of these are
the ones in the villages of Vaksince, Bogovinje, Sipkovica, Zajac, and Srbica.
They realize their tasks through "escorts" and "couriers", respectively, who
enter from Kosovo both legally and illegally into Macedonian territory, and are
in general members of the organization "Homeland Calls" [organization of ethnic
Albanians living in Western Europe and the USA, used for funneling of financial
and other support to the KLA]. Otherwise this organization is a part of the
so-called "Popular Movement of Kosovo" or LPK, which is in charge of spreading
propaganda for the establishment of "Greater Albania". Macedonian agents, states
Kosteski, have registered the activities of these organization in the region of
Tetovo, Gostivar, and Kicevo.

Intelligence agents of the Defense Ministry are recommending to Prime Minister
Georgievski as well as to Minister of Defense Nikola Kljusev to pay attention to
the methods used by the Kosovo Protection Corps (TMK), actually the transformed
"KLA", because "these are very similar to the methods used by the Albanian
army". They are advising the government to pay attention to the persons who are
in continuous contact with the members of the TMK and "KLA", especially those
who are included in the framework of the code-named operations "MOST"[bridge],
"OBLAK"[cloud] and "STRELA"[arrow]. They are suggesting to our modern
politicians to pay close attention to the fact that "democrats" from PDPA-NDP
have prepared the same sort of lists as those used currently in Kosovo, for
execution of Macedonians and Albanians who can place obstacles to the
implementation of their "idea". It is certain that neither Georgievski nor
Tajkovski will be on those lists.

Is Georgievski blind, deaf, or indebted to Xhaferi for some services, since he
does not react in any manner to such warnings? The report filed on May 10, 2000,
regarding the security formations in Macedonia, among other states that a group
of 30 armed individuals, members of "Second Prizren Zone" of the Kosovo
Protection Crops, on April 1 (at the same time when Macedonian border guards
were kidnapped and exchanged), crossed the Sar mountain and spent 24 hours in
the villages of Bozovce and Vesala (north west from Tetovo). These persons held
secret organizational meetings with the local inhabitants.

This spring, significant recent activities of the "liberators" of Kosovo and
drug and weapons dealers from Albania were recorded in Struga and nearby
villages. Agents of the Defense Ministry point out in their reports to the Prime
Minister and the Minister of Defense that high officials of the "KLA" are
constantly in touch with the local leaders of the PDPA-NDP and PDP and are
finishing up preparations for the so-called action "referendum for cultural
autonomy". Recently, Faredin Ademi from the village of Zagaracani hosted Ylaz
Bekiri, a member of the "KLA" and Kosovo official who had brought "directives"
for organization and activation at the right time of all persons in the Struga
region that have completed military training in Albania. Lists for the
mobilization of these persons and their concrete tasks on Macedonian territory
have been completed. During May, intensive preparations for mass demonstrations
were carried out in the villages of Kaliste, Lomnica, Gjurgjeviste, Novo Selo,
and Selce Kec, which gravitate towards Tetovo and Gostivar. The pretext for
these demonstrations can be the dispute about education in Albanian language or
the implementation of the referendum about cultural autonomy. Do the warnings of
Mendyh Thaci to his Macedonian partners to be more courageous in reining in
Macedonian nationalism fit in in this? Why did the Minister for Education, Gale
Galev, suddenly come up with a parallel school in Albanian in Bitola and then
the whole Pelagonija region? We shall see whether all of these governmental
"activities" separately or all together are supposed to be a "justified" reason
for an all-Albanian reaction to their collective endangerment. It is important
that the government knows all this, it is just that the Prime Minister is not
taking this information seriously. Competent organizations are not doing
anything to prevent these activities. On the contrary, it appears that the state
leadership is trying to prevent the security mechanisms of the state and
instead, pretending to be blind and deaf, is allowing that Macedonian territory
be occupied by paramilitary formations from the neighborhood.

To make everything even more tragic, all of this is taking place in front of the
eyes of NATO and KFOR, respectively. Where will Macedonia end up in security
sphere, and what will happen to its territorial integrity and NATO verbal
obligation to guarantee its security, is perhaps best demonstrated by the
information from the commander of a border post in the Kicevo region. He is
informing his superiors that, after a recent exchange of soldiers for a
criminal, members of KFOR and UNMiK have several times brazenly entered
Macedonian territory and arrogantly ridiculed their Macedonian colleagues by
stating that "if they want and whenever they want, they can get kidnapped". It
is clear that they can do that, since all of us were witnesses how based on
orders from Georgievski and in coordination with Xhaferi, the state prosecutor
staged the abduction and exchange. The aforementioned information lists close
encounters "of third kind" on April 29, May 3, 6, and 7, 2000. Whether these are
premeditated provocations or simply pranks of "under-employed" KFOR and UNMiK
members, the Macedonian public hasn't been told why the Defense Ministry has
become nothing but a business center, and Prime Minister anyway cares about
Macedonia less than about last years snow.


Zëri, Kosovo Albanian daily, on page five carried the story of Sadik
Musaj, who claims to have thrown a grenade at the Haradinaj brothers,
who he said came with about 40 people to attack his family.


July 11, 2000

Zëri on page five carried the story of Sadik Musaj, who claims to have
thrown a grenade at the Haradinaj brothers, who he said came with about
40 people to attack his family.

"It was about 0100 hours, I was at that moment in the bathroom. One
brother was awake, while the other part of the family was asleep. They
came with 10-15 vehicles, there were 7-8 jeeps and other vehicles. One
jeep had Tirana license plates; there was also a red Audi. There were
about 40 people. They came from all directions through both gates and
over the wall. Ramush Haradinaj was the first, accompanied by Daut,
Lieutenant Idriz Balaj, Faton Mehmetaj, the self-proclaimed chief of
security for Dukagjin area. A brother saw them from inside and told us
to wake up because we are surrounded by the KPC. I was only half-dressed and I came out the door. Ramush directed the laser weapon at me and told me: 'Don't move or you
and your family will be liquidated,' then Daut and the Lieutenant
reacted and together with Faton Mehmetaj and Bekim Zekaj, they
surrounded me."

"I considered myself dead, but I knew that someone from my family was
killed, because the automatic weapons hit the windows. At the moment I
had revolvers and automatic weapons on my head. I took the grenade the
Lieutenant held in his hand, and he was left with the ring. I quickly
went backwards, Bekim Zeka (Daut's bodyguard) directed his weapon at me.
I removed his hand quickly; the bullets hit the wall and I jumped
quickly on the other side, I hided behind the car and threw the bomb. It
was a matter of seconds. The bomb exploded near the chair and from its
explosion Ramush, Daut and others were wounded, who are probably being
treated privately. Then there was a lot of firing from automatic weapons
and different arms, and another bomb exploded. All this lasted two
hours. My brother jumped from the stairs and scuffled with one of them,
took his automatic weapon. He had a revolver in his hand and after a
scuffle he luckily escaped. Then they started to withdraw. Later they
withdrew the wounded with much difficulty. During all this time, the
firing never stopped from both sides. Then, I came to the street to stop
somebody to inform KFOR and UNMIK. First came UNMIK and later KFOR. This
lasted from 0100 to 0300 hours. When people from UNMIK came, they
verified the event, saw the blood of the wounded and somewhere they
found the official permit of Ramush. After the search, they verified the
blood was theirs and that we were attacked in our yard," said Musaj.

As for the reasons of this attack, Musaj explained: "My brother, Sinan
Musaj, was a member of the Bukoshi Army. KLA members abducted him
together with Rexhe Osaj, Bashkim Balaj, Rame Idrizi and Vesel Muriqi on
24 June of last year. Only Vesel managed to escape from Ratish. He made
detailed statements to UNMIK and KFOR on who made the 'arrest'. After
the event, we immediately informed the Italian Carabinieris, KFOR,
UNMIK, and political parties. KFOR investigated, for example in Ratish.
They checked a couple of wells, even experts of The Hague were there.
After the 'arrest' of these soldiers, among them our brother, these
families went to Ramush's father, including our father and uncles, but
Ramush's father said he was not
interested, and that 'if you have any business, you should address my
sons'. He said that nobody asked him for these things. We were at
Ramush's family two days before the event, and he didn't want to speak
about this case. Our elders told Ramush's father that our sons were
fighting against the Serbs and it is not important whose soldiers they
were. Our brother, Ismet Musaj, was in Dubrava prison, where he was
wounded during the Serb massacre when 160 people were killed, and then
he was in Pozarevac prison, from where he returned a month and a half
ago. We were all in Switzerland and contributed with money and other
things. During the war our father and one brother were here. At this
time, when we could hardly wait to be liberated, Ramush Haradinaj comes
and attacks us at one in the morning, in the presence of ten women and


Transcript of an article published in yesterday's Bota Sot, taken from
the Albanian magazine Tema, which claims to uncover secret documents of
the KLA Secret Service. The paper also provides facsimiles of some

BOTA SOT - Kosovo Albanian Daily

July 11, 2000


The so-called secret service of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) seems
to have persecuted a list of politicians and renowned names from Albania
and Kosovo, who were regarded as an impediment to its takeover of the
armed movement in Kosovo. A series of documents discovered a few months
ago in the house of one of the heads of the former secret service of the
KLA, provide evidences of execution lists and a scheme of persecution of
Albanian opposition politicians in Tirana and people close to Rugova in

The list contains names of 15 principle authorities of the opposition in
Albania, politicians, journalists and people with influence in the
Democratic League of Kosovo, headed by Ibrahim Rugova.

The coded list is compiled according to precise rules of a secret
service. First, the list is compiled in one copy and the following
subject has a code which corresponds to pseudonyms of the monitors who
are coded with the name "eagle". On the other side, the coded names of
subsequent persons have a corresponding pseudonym in Albanian with a
word determined by the KLA Secret Service.

List no. 7, for example, is a list joining the pseudonym of a person to
combinations of people who follow him. List no. 8, has only the code of
the followed person, which is explained in the list no. 7. On the other
side, different persons kept both lists and it as very difficult for
different persons to know everything about the list.

In the list coded as "List no. 7", the pseudonyms of the persons of the
subjects are given. For example, Ibrahim Rugova "the scarf", Sali
Berisha "Zani", Azem Hajdari "the democrat" etc. This list was given to
people who were following them, but not the complete one (?) The
complete facsimile was signed by Bislim Zyrapi, chief of KLA Secret

At least three persons from that list were executed, while another was
heavily wounded. The reasons might not be directly linked to this
activity, but at least in two cases, in the murder of Enver Maloku and
journalist Ali Ukaj, it seems that this mysterious illegal organization
is involved. Documents which came to our office from sources close to
persons who on behalf of KFOR confiscated a house of a senior KLA
official in Pristina, make believable the assumptions that this
organization was getting even with its political opponents in Kosovo,
where Enver Maloku and Sabri Hamiti were the main ones. In addition, the
murder case of Ali Ukaj, one of the first KLA activists who didn't
accept the KLA to be taken under the control of the Albanian Secret
Services (SHIK) in Tirana, is also clear. Consequences of this policy
were very grave. The Albanian resistance was weakened and the risk of an
eventual civil conflict as present. The armed people, on behalf of the
KLA, used military might against their political opponents, by
preventing in a way, a perfect military organization in Kosovo and a
serious, dignified preparation for war.


NYT, Kosovo's Rebels Accused of Executions in the Ranks, June 25


Albanians fire on Serb Part of Mitrovica

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, July 15 (AFP) - A series of explosions rocked the
divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica in northern Kosovo late Friday, sparking a
protest by local Serbs, the KFOR multinational peacekeeping force said.
Two rifle grenades were fired, apparently from the southern part of the
town, at around 10.15 p.m. (2015 GMT), said Lieutenant Henri de Lestapis.
Following the attack, around 400 Serbs gathered at the north end of the
bridge linking the majority-Serb north of the town with the predominantly
ethnic Albanian south, said Colonel Henry Aussavy.

When the French commander of the KFOR peacekeeping force's northern
brigade, General Jean-Louis Sublet, arrived on the scene around an hour later
bursts of automatic gunfire were heard, Aussavy said.
No-one is thought to have been hurt by the grenades or the firing, the
officers said.

"The general was not targeted and was taken to safety," de Lestapis said.
The grenades fell in the road in an area between the "Three Towers", a
group of apartment blocks on the north bank largely inhabited by ethnic
Albanians, and the Dolce Vita cafe.
The cafe is known as the headquarters of the "Bridge Watchers," a self
defence group set up by Serbs.

In an attempt to defuse the situation, Sublet met with Oliver Ivanovic, the
mayor of Serbian Mitrovica, and they spoke together for half an hour, de
Lestapis said.

At around midnight, as the crowd was dispersing peacefully, a third
explosion ripped through an empty apartment in one of the three towers,
Aussavy said.
The French officer said it was not clear from where this attack had come.
Ivanovic later told AFP by telephone that the grenades had been fired from
a school yard on the south bank of the river.

"I met with General Sublet to discuss the situation. The French deployed a
lot of men on the north bank after the attack, and the general said they had
done the same on the south," he said.

"The situation is calm now, and the French seem to be in charge of the
situation," he said.
Ivanovic said he had no information about the rifle fire, which the French
said appeared to have come from a building somewhere on the north bank.


Saturday July 15, 2000

Terror stalks Serbs in a land ruled by hatred

The losers of the Kosovo war are victims of repression, kidnappings and killings

Kosovo: special report

Andrew Osborn in Gornje Dobrevo, Kosovo

It was barely midday but the funeral wake was already under way. Behind a
ramshackle red brick house in this dusty little village, several generations
of the Filipovic family had gathered to pay their respects to one of their own.

Burko Filipovic, a young man in his twenties, was killed when he drove over a
landmine. Nobody knows exactly who buried the mine, but it is clear that it was
meant for someone like Burko. It was left on a road used by Serbs and Serbs
are not welcome in postwar Kosovo.

It is more than a year since the war ended, but the horrors of ethnic cleansing
are still fresh to many Kosovo Albanians. The Serbs have not been forgiven
and for the 100,000 of them who remain in Kosovo, living alongside nearly 2m
Albanians, the threat to their lives is very real. Ironically they look to
Nato, seen by many Serbs as an army of occupation, to keep revenge-minded Albanians in

The sobbing began when Slobodan Filipovic held up the blackened and
shredded remains of his dead son's jeans. The women, clad in black, began to
wail and the men twitched as they gazed gloomily into their cognacs.

"This is not a life, this is survival. The only difference between us and
the Jews before the second world war is that we don't have to wear yellow stars," Zorica
Filipovic said after the tears had finally stopped.

Slavisa Filipovic says he knows who is to blame but will not name any names.
"This is a terrible crime and it was done by my neighbours... They did this to
their closest neighbours. I used to ask them if they needed anything." Now, he
claims, they phone him only to issue death threats.

Major Norking of the Swedish battalion, whose job it is to protect the village,
points to the crater in the dusty road where the mine was concealed. The local
Serbs are, he explains, under siege and cannot go anywhere.

At least three people, including Burko, have been blown up in the last two
weeks and there is, he adds, little doubt that the mines were laid recently with
the express intention of killing Serbs.

Serb children are escorted to the local school, while the adults dare not
venture into the fields to harvest their crops because they are convinced that they too
will step on a mine. But the Serbs are determined not to be driven out of

"We don't intend to move and many more of us will probably be killed but we
won't leave Kosovo. This is our country," the village's steely head man Jorgic
Zikica vows.

"The Serbs have been living here for centuries and we're living on our land
and we want to live here," Sinisa Vasic, a villager, adds.

He admits, however, that the current situation is unbearable. "There are no jobs
and our area of movement is getting smaller and smaller. They are kidnapping
and killing us so how can we be optimistic?"

Salvation, in the eyes of many Serbs, lies in the unlikely return of the
Yugoslav army and police who are hated by the Albanians and were bombed out of
Kosovo by Nato. "They are the police and part of our country... They are able
to provide law and order," Slavisa Filipovic, the family's self-appointed
spokesman, declares, adding that Nato's K-For taskforce has so far been unable
to guarantee the Serbs' security.

Slavisa has not dared enter Pristina, Kosovo's administrative capital, for
over a year. He claims that more than a thousand Serbs have been murdered in the
past year, while a further thousand have been kidnapped.

Some 40,000 Serb homes have also been burned to the ground. "Nobody has
been put on trial for all these crimes. Is murder not murder because it is

In the Serb enclave of Gracanica, Father Sava Janjic, an Orthodox priest who
acts as a spokesman for moderate Serbs, tells a similar story. The Serbs are, he
says, being systematically persecuted and their culture deliberately destroyed.

"One year after the war in Kosovo we have one repression and one
discrimination supplanted by another. Only the roles have changed. The level
of intolerance and hatred is so great that if I walked in the streets of
Pristina I would be killed in several minutes."

Constantly escorted by two K-For Norwegian soldiers, Father Sava holds court in
a room plastered with photographs of the 80 Serb churches and monasteries
destroyed by Albanian extremists since the end of the war. In immaculate
English, learned while studying to be an English professor at Belgrade
University, he claims that many in the Albanian community are determined to
empty Kosovo of Serbs.

"Their logic is that the fewer Serbs in Kosovo the sooner they'll get
independence because when there are no Serbs in Kosovo there will be no
reasons for the Serbs to keep any claim to Kosovo."

Nato and the aid agencies, whose jeeps clog the streets of Pristina, are acutely
aware that their mission will only be judged a success if the 150,000 Serbs who
have fled Kosovo in the last year return. And for that to happen the killing

Paula Ghedini, a UNHCR spokeswoman in Pristina, admits that there is a long
way to go. "Most ethnic minorities in Kosovo today are prisoners in their own
homes. They are being attacked and harassed on a daily basis."

Her boss, UNHCR head of mission Dennis McNamara, is convinced that a
proper judicial system and an even-handed police force are the only way

"The political necessity for the return of the Serbs is very real. Kids can't be
allowed to stone old ladies when they go to market with impunity. That has to
be stopped."

Kosovo Albanian politicians are willing to denounce attacks on the Serbs but
that it as far as they will go. Behind-the-scenes pressure from the US secretary
of state, Madeleine Albright, and from Nato has so far fallen on deaf ears.

The attitude of Hashim Thaci, the former political leader of the now disbanded
Kosovo Liberation Army, is typical. Flanked by two burly bodyguards, his
rhetoric is impressive but short on detail.

"Minorities from a Kosovar perspective means honour and glory and we will
respect those values," he says, when asked if the Serb minority has a place in
Kosovo. "I'm in the service of tolerance and oppose violence. My wish is not to
have Serbian victims at all."

But with local elections due in October and few signs of Serb participation, the
international community knows that it has to do something quickly.

The UN's Bill Nash believes that displaced Serbs must be encouraged to return.
"The Serb returns issue is one of the major ones the international community
should deal with. If you break that logjam you can solve a lot of issues."

Thousands of new homes are to be built by the EU and various charities and
some of these could be made available to returning Serbs.

Yet, even in this most divided of towns, there are signs of hope. The Serbs
have, after much soul searching, agreed to set up a joint cement factory with
the Albanian community.


BBC World Service
Monday, 17 July, 2000, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK

Kosovo Serb church blown up

The internationally supervised police force in Kosovo
says a Serbian Orthodox village church was reduced to
rubble in an overnight explosion.

Kosovo Serbs say the cause was a bomb planted by

No casualties were reported.

The Svet IIija church in the village of Pomazetin near
Pristina was already damaged from an attack last year.



Gracanica, July 17 2000

Last night (July 16) around 23.30 the Serbian Orthodox Church of St.
Elias in Pomazatin, 12 km west from Pristina was completely destroyed in
a powerful explosion The church of St Elias was originally built in 1937
near the river Drenica. At the beginning of the WW2 it was destroyed by
Albanian Nazi troops called Balli Combetar. After the war the Serbs
rebuilt the church in 1965 and it served as a parish church since then.
Last year in summer, just after the deployment of KFOR in Kosovo the KLA
memebers damaged the entrance of the church by a hand grenade. Despite
this damage the church could be easily repaired and the Diocese
requested from KFOR to secure the church from further destruction. KFOR
only surrounded the church by barbed wire and from time to time patrols
would pass near by.

The church of St. Elias is only a few hundred meters from the nearest
British KFOR base. The attackers who are supposed again to be the
members of the former KLA brought large quantity of explosive and
informed the local population not to go out of their homes at the time
of explosion which was planned for 23.30.

Serbian Orthodox Church has condemned this latest barbarous attack and
has requested from KFOR and UN Mission to carry out the investigation.
There are very few reasons to believe that the perpertrators would ever
be arrested because so far not a single attacker on nearly 90 destroyed
Serb churches has been identified or arrested.

Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren
Information Service


Serbian Church Blown Up in Kosovo

The Associated Press
Monday, July 17, 2000; 9:48 a.m. EDT

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia -- An explosion ripped through a medieval Serbian
Orthodox Church in Kosovo, flattening the structure, U.N police said Monday.

The church of the Holy Prophet Elijah was located in the village of
Pomazetin, just outside the Serb village of Kosovo Polje. The church was leveled in the Sunday
night explosion, said Oleg Rubezhov, a U.N. police officer who patrols the

"It was destroyed to the basement," he said.

About 66 pounds of explosives were used in the 11:30 p.m. blast, peacekeepers
said. Two people were seen running from the site shortly after the explosion.

The church was not under guard by NATO-led peacekeepers, U.N. police said.
They said it had already been severely damaged during the war between ethnic
Albanian separatists and the forces of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

However, the private Beta and FoNet news agencies in Belgrade said in their
reports that the church was first damaged last August in a fire or by an

The opposition Serbian Renewal Movement blamed the latest explosion on the
peacekeeping force, called KFOR, saying its troops did nothing to prevent it
in this heavily ethnic Albanian province.

"Members of KFOR know well enough that Albanian extremists systematically
destroy Orthodox Christian churches, but they obviously do nothing to prevent
them, which is proven by this latest crime," the party said.

Minority Serbs have faced daily attacks over the past year and Serb Orthodox
monuments have been targeted by ethnic Albanian militants. The Beta news
agency said 86 religious objects have been destroyed.

Beta said Pomazetin was an ethnically mixed village before Kosovo's 1998-99 war.
Since the deployment of NATO-led peacekeepers in the province last year, Serb
villagers have fled, fearing for their safety.



Serb Woman Latest Victim of Violence against Kosovo Minorities

PRISTINA, Jul 17, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) A gang of Kosovar Albanians
dragged a Serb woman from her house, which they proceeded to rob and burn to the
ground, the UN police said Sunday after another weekend of violence against

The woman told police she was attacked in Gornje Dobrevo in the center of the
province at 1:00 p.m. (1100 GMT) Saturday.

In a separate incident the same day an empty Serb-owned house burned down in
Milosevo, 10 kilometers (six miles) north of Pristina. No one was hurt in the fire,
which appeared to have been caused deliberately, police said.

Also on Saturday, police in the western Kosovo town of Pec arrested and then
released a group of ethnic Albanians for throwing stones at a house owned by Roma

Violence against minority populations is an almost daily occurrence in the
UN-administered Yugoslav province, where ethnic Albanians make up the vast
majority of the population.


Thursday, July 20 8:10 PM SGT

Serb communities come under attack in Kosovo

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, July 20 (AFP) -

Serbs came under attack in three different areas of
Kosovo in what appeared to be the latest bout of
inter-ethnic bloodletting to rock the province, police
and peacekeepers said Thursday.

A Serbian farmer who was gathering hay with his wife
near the eastern Kosovo village of Soracak was
attacked Wednesday by four gunmen who fired three or
four bursts of automatic fire, Captain Kath Hurley of
the KFOR peacekeeping force said.

A British army patrol found the man, who had been
injured in his upper arm, at around 7:00 p.m. (1900
GMT) and transported him to hospital in the nearby
town of Gracanica, she said.

He is expected to survive and an investigation into
the incident is to be conducted by a team from KFOR's
US-led eastern brigade, she added.

In a separate attack in northern Kosovo, a house in
the Serbian village of Gojbula was hit by a
rocket-propelled grenade at around 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, a spokesman for Kosovo's UN police force

A 65-year-old Serb who was standing in front of his
house when the grenade hit its roof was uninjured, the
spokesman added.

Later a UN officer who went to the scene to
investigate was attacked by an angry crowd of around
20 Serbs who attempted to overturn his vehicle, the
spokesman said. The police officer managed to escape

In a third attack, three mortar bombs were fired
Tuesday at the Serbian village of Goradzevac, Giovanni
Ramunno, a spokesman for KFOR's western, Italian-led,
brigade said.

No-one was injured and no damage was caused in the
attack, Ramunno said.

Since the arrival in Kosovo last June of the KFOR
peacekeeping force, Serbian communities have regularly
been the target of revenge attacks by ethnic Albanians
angry at atrocities committed against their own
communities by Yugoslavian forces during the
province's 1998-1999 civil war.

On Tuesday, troops of KFOR's US-led eastern brigade
found what they believed to be a training area and
bunker complex operated by extremists north of Strpce,
a Serbian enclave in Kosovo's southern mountains.

The search was launched following requests from local
Serb leaders that more needed to be done to improve
security in the area, in which Serbs have recently
been the target of kidnapping and murders, a US
officer said.

"They asked us to do it and we did," said Colonel
Joseph Orr.

"This operation emphasised KFOR's commitment to
provide a safe and secure environment for all of
Kosovo, an environment critical to creating a
long-lasting peace."

During the search, troops found and destroyed bunkers
and fighting positions and confirmed the location of a
minefield, Orr said.


Peacekeepers Find Drugs in Kosovo Albanian Village During Weapons Search

PRISTINA, Jul 20, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) KFOR peacekeeping troops
uncovered a haul of drugs along with assault rifles and hundreds of rounds of
ammunition after searching a Kosovo Albanian village, a British army spokeswoman
said Wednesday.

In searches Monday and Tuesday of the village of Gornje Dobrevo, seven kilometers
(four miles) southwest of Pristina, a team of around 400 troops from the KFOR
multinational force found four harvests of cannabis and four boxes of "narcotics,"
Captain Kath Hurley said.

In houses across the village, the troops found several assault rifles, a machine gun,
ammunition, gas masks, batons and handcuffs, Hurley said.

Three uniforms were found alongside the weapons, she said, but could not specify
the unit to which the uniforms belonged.

A possible minefield was also identified near the village which Hurley said would be
investigated further by explosives experts.

The Serbian media regularly portrays Kosovo Albanian separatist rebels as belonging
to a "narco-mafia," supporting their struggle against the Yugoslav regime in Belgrade
through criminal activities.

The search in Gornje Dobrevo, which was carried out by Finnish, British and
Swedish troops, was part of an ongoing program to disarm Kosovo's population.
Serbian villages have also been targeted for searches, Hurley said.

US troops serving in southeast Kosovo also found weapons Tuesday, Sergeant Pat
McGuire said. A foot patrol of US peacekeepers discovered a grenade, a machine
gun and a large quantity of ammunition in a building in Gnjilane, he said. No one was


Serbian village marks anniversary of Kosovo massacre

Reference - Gracko Massacre
Times, Harvest Massacre Blamed on Kosovo Guerillas, July 26

GRACKO, Yugoslavia, July 22 (AFP) - Around 150 Kosovo Serbian
villagers gathered here Saturday to mark the first anniversary of
the massacre of 14 of their friends and relatives.
The 14 Serbs were shot dead shortly after the arrival of the
KFOR peacekeeping force in the province last year in what is thought
to have been a revenge attack carried out by ethnic Albanians.
The crowd, mostly dressed in black, gathered for a sombre
ceremony in a cemetery about half a mile (one kilometre) from the
small Serbian village of Gracko, some 12 miles (20 kilometres) south
of Pristina.
After an hour they walked in silence back to the village,
escorted by Finnish and Norwegian KFOR peacekeepers in two armoured
personnel carriers.
"We are very angry," one female mourner told AFP.
"The people who were killed here were young, many of them the
fathers of families," said a young man, who did not want to be
"Relatives have come from Serbia and Montenegro to be here
Bernard Kouchner, Kosovo's UN administrator, visited Gracko last
year in his first week in the province, the day after peacekeeping
troops found the bodies of the murdered Serbs. No UN representative
was at Saturday's ceremony.
"We contacted the relatives ahead of the ceremony and they told
us they would prefer Saturday to be a private event," Jay Carter,
the UN administrator for the Pristina region told AFP.
"Another ceremony will be held Sunday at which our community
representative will pay his respects."
Since the arrival of KFOR last June hundreds of Serbs have been
killed or injured in attacks by Albanian extremists seeking revenge
for atrocities committed by Yugoslav forces during Kosovo's
1998-1999 civil war.
Last month an ethnic Albanian was injured as he attempted to
place a mine in the cemetery at Gracko, which lies immediately south
of the largely Albanian town of Lipjan, KFOR said.
The night before the ceremony in the village of Suvi Do, three
miles (two kilometres) north of Gracko two Albanian children
attacked a 74-year-old Serb and beat him with sticks after he
complained that they had allowed their cattle to graze in his field,
Gilles Moreau, a UN police spokesman said.
The same evening in Rabovce, three miles south of Gracko, two
ethnic Albanians attacked a Serb man with clubs, leaving him lightly
injured, Moreau said.
In the east of Kosovo three Serbs were injured after
unidentified gunmen fired on them, a spokesman for the
multi-national KFOR peacekeeping force here said.
The attack took place late Friday in Kamenica and the wounded
were taken to the US military hospital of Bondsteel in the southeast
of the province. Their wounds are not thought to be
life-threatening, the spokesman said.