January 12, 2004

ERP KiM Newsletter 12-01-04

One Serb wounded by gunfire, six others beaten - KFOR reportedly observes beating of Serbs without responding - Bishop Artemije issues sharpest protest

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija expresses its sharpest protest following attacks on Serbs from Novo Naselje near Lipljan. "We have had enough of hypocritical statements of 'deep concern' and 'regret'. KFOR and the UNMIK police are not tasked and paid to weep over the fate of the Serbs but to protect them from systematic Albanian terror and violence," says Bishop Artemije

Wounded Serbs at "Simonida" hospital in Gracanica

ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica, January 11, 2004

Diocese of Raska and Prizren most sharply condemns the public lynching of Serbs in Novo Naselje

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija most sharply condemns last night's attempted murder of a Serb man, Aleksandar Nastic, and today's lynching of a group of Serbs from Novo Naselje in which at least six persons were injured. These barbaric attacks by local Albanians, the most recent in a countless series, once again confirmed that Serbs in central Kosovo are not safe and that there is still an intense campaign of ethnic terror going on with the aim of expelling the remaining Serbs from all parts of the south Province of Serbia.

Bishop Artemije expressed his bitterness following the attack and requested that the commander of KFOR Multinational Brigade Center, Swedish Brig. Gen. Anders Branstrom and KFOR commander in chief Lt. Gen. Holger Kammerhoff undertake concrete measures to protect the Serbs of Novo Naselje and other endangered parts of central Kosovo from the attacks of the Albanian population, which is being incited to act violently by its local politicians and media.

"The reduction in KFOR forces and removal of control checkpoints ("unfixing") being intensively carried out by KFOR is not contributing to security but leaving the Serb population exposed to terror, as today's incident confirmed." "It is a shame and a scandal that more than six months have passed without the arrest of the perpetrators of the massacre of Serb children in Gorazdevac and the slaughter of the Stolic family in Obilic," said the Bishop. "The Diocese of Raska and Prizren therefore expects the ringleaders of today's lynching to be identified and brought to justice as quickly as possible," said Bishop Artemije. He added: "We have had enough of hypocritical statements of 'deep concern' and 'regret'. KFOR and the UNMIK police are not tasked and paid to weep over the fate of the Serbs but to protect them from systematic Albanian terror and violence. If they unable to do so, they should allow the Serbs to organize themselves and protect their homes and their families."

Today's attack, like the recent stoning of Russian and Serbian pilgrims in Decani on Orthodox Christmas Day, the desecration of the church in Gornja Brnjica and the attempted usurpation of the Church of Christ the Savior in Pristina, demonstrate to what extent the Kosovo Albanians are ready to fulfill standards and what their vision of democracy and a future in Europe is like. The standards that Mr. Harri Holkeri and the international community have been shouting about from the rooftops have been blatantly trampled many times in just the past couple of weeks. It is obvious from the very start that they are only dead letters and a fig leaf covering the shame of the unsuccessful missions of UNMIK and KFOR.

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren appeals to the Serb representatives in the Kosovo and Metohija parliament and municipal assemblies to precondition their further participation in these institutions by measures of protection for the Serbian population and its holy shrines, which are exposed to constant attacks by Albanian extremists, as well as to the arrest of the perpetrators of the massacres in Gorazdevac and Obilic. Serb representatives in these institutions do not have the moral right or support of the Serb population to continue to participate in the simulation of democracy, thus giving legitimacy to the rule of ethnic Albanian lawlessness and international hypocrisy as long as the blood of innocent civilians is being spilled and the Christian holy shrines of Kosovo and Metohija are being desecrated.

Latest news regarding last night's and today's attacks on Serbs in Novo Selo and their medical condition

Last night (January 10) at approximately 20,00 hours, a Serb man, Aleksandar Nastic (born 1982) from Novo Naselje, located between Lipljan and Suvi Do, was attacked by unknown persons who shot him. Nastic had walked from his house to a nearby cafe when he observed a car slowing down. Suddenly an unknown person opened fire on him, shooting Nastic in the right side of the chest and right upper arm. Nastic collapsed as a result of his wounds into a nearby ditch from which he was immediately pulled by local Serbs and transported by passenger vehicle to the Finnish KFOR base in Suvi Do. In the meanwhile, the attackers fled the scene of the attack at great speed.

Upon arrival in the Finnish base, the soldiers, according to Serbs who transported the wounded man, refused to give Nastic emergency care because they allegedly did not have a health facility on base. The Serbs were thus forced to drive Nastic several kilometers further to Gracanica where he was admitted to the Serb run "Simonida" Hospital. In the meanwhile, the injured man lost a lot of blood.

According to a statement by on-duty surgeon Dr. Jovan Mladenovic, Nastic was brought to the hospital in a state of traumatic shock with injuries to the muscles and upper arm and immediately operated on. Nastic was placed in intensive care and his X-rays show that he has no other visible major injuries. The wounded man is currently in stable condition and not in life-threatening danger in all vital functions.

After last night's attempt to murder Aleksandar Nastic from a moving car, Serbs from Novo Naselje and the village of Suvi Do near Lipljan attempted to hold a protest by blocking the Lipljan-Kosovo Polje road. After they gathered, they were attacked with sticks and pitchforks by a group of at least 20 Albanians from the nearby Albanian village (Ashani), protester Dojcin Rasic told media. The protesters wanted to speak with representatives of the Finnish KFOR contingent securing the area and request the return of a KFOR control point at the entrance to Novo Naselje. They had agreed that the village delegation and KFOR representatives would mean between Novo Naselje and Suvi Do.

Eyewitnesses claim that members of Finnish KFOR and the Kosovo Police Service indifferently observed the attack, which occurred only about 100 meters from the Finnish soldiers, but did not react until the injured cried for help. During the brutal beating of the Serbs with sticks and blunt objects, which lasted some 15 minutes, at least five Serbs were injured (two seriously). A sixth Serb man was subsequently attacked while was driving his family by car on that road when he ran into a group of Albanians who beat him up. According to statements by some protesters, a few more Serbs sustained light injuries and but did not request medical assistance at the Gracanica hospital.

The injured Serbs were quickly transported by car to "Simonida" Hospital in Gracanica, where they were admitted at 13,05 hours by Dr. Jovan Mladenovic. According to Dr. Mladenovic, all the attacked persons sustained physical injuries and two of them sustained serious injuries to the head:

1. Sasa Kostic (born 1968) was admitted in a state of traumatic shock with an injury to the left side of the head. Injuries were inflicted with a blunt object and the wound is 10 x 5 cm. The patient arrived with profuse bleeding and the injuries were cleansed and the wound sown up. Kostic is currently recovering in intensive care and is not in life-threatening danger.

2. Kosara Nikolic (f) (born 1947) was admitted with a serious injury to the head as a result of a blow with a blunt object. The injury on the left side of her head was in the shape of the letter Y, 10 x 5 cm with a large hematoma the size of a fist. After removal of a temporary bandage, profuse bleeding ensued as if the aorta had been ruptured. After examination and surgery, the wound was sown up and Mrs. Nikolic is recovering in intensive care. According to the physician, Kosara Nikolic was brought in serious hemorraghic and traumatic shock, and she had lost a lot of blood.

3. Aca Nastic (born 1955), the uncle of Aleksandar Nastic, who was shot last night, was admitted to  hospital with injuries to the front and left part of his head with a frontal wound 7 x 4 cm in size and a side wound in the shape of the letter Y 10 x 4 cm in size. Nastic was in serious traumatic shock. After undergoing surgery and having his wounds sewn up, Nastic was placed in intensive care.

4. Predrag Nikolic (born 1978), son of Kosara, sustained injuries to the front of his head as well as smaller contusions on other parts of his body. His injuries were of a less serious nature and after receiving emergency care he was released to recover at home.

5. Slavisa Maksimovic (born 1968) was admitted to Simonida Hospital with hand injuries and smaller contusions. After examination and emergency care he was released to recover at home.

One hour after the arrival of these five injured Serbs, a sixth Serb was transported to Simonida Hospital:

6. Milorad Gacic (born 1949) with an injury to his left elbow and a minor head injury. After receiving treatment Gacic was released to recover at home.

The attack on the Serbs was reported to UNMIK and the Kosovo police and an investigation is in progress. Not one international representative of UNMIK or KFOR so far has visited any of the injured Serbs.

The latest information from Novo Naselje say that a KFOR transporter has been placed at the entrance to the village but for the time being KFOR does not seem to be ready to reinstall the fixed check-point.

Serbs from Novo Naselje issue public communiqué

"The Serb community of Novo Naselje and Lipljan expresses its bitterness and protest following attacks in which furious Albanians are doling out [violence] in spurts with the goal of frightening and expelling the remaining Serbs," the Serbs from Novo Naselje said in a statement, assessing that the goal of this "terror is ethnic cleansing".

Therefore, the Serbs from Novo Naselje and Lipljan call on members of the Serb Return Coalition (Povratak) and Serb representatives in Kosovo municipal assemblies to immediately withdraw from all Kosovo government institutions because "Serb interests cannot be defended" in them.

"The only possibility", it is the estimate of their council, "is self-organization in the form of decentralization, where Serb safety will be ensured by a police force consisting solely of Serbs," says the statement.

ERP KIM Info-Service is the official Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren and works with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Artemije.
Our Information Service is distributing news on Kosovo related issues. The main focus of the Info-Service is the life of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian community in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija. ERP KIM Info Service works in cooperation with www.serbian-translation.com as well as the Kosovo Daily News (KDN) News List

The views expressed by the authors of newspaper articles or other texts which are not official communiqués or news reports by the Diocese are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Serbian Orthodox Church

Additional information on our Diocese and the life of the Kosovo Serb Community may be found at: http://www.kosovo.net

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