Roma child wounded by Albanian extremists
This archive contains articles published in major newspapers since early June 1999 and describes KLA harassment, torture and murder of Serbs, Gypsies, Turks, Gorani, Croats, Jews and other minorities, not to mention loyalist Albanians who did not support either the KLA or Ibrahim Rugova's pacifist secessionist movement. Leaders of the KLA have constantly denied any responsibility for these serious violations but the facts prove opposite.
Report by Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Abuses against Serbs in 1998
Human Rights Violations Against Kosovo Serbs in 1998 HRW
Dissapearances of Serbs and other non-Albanians Jan - July 1998 HLC
Chronology of anti-Serb terror in Kosovo Apr 1996 - Feb 1998, YUPress
and Post-War Kosovo
Italian KFOR taking arrested Albanian paramilitaries to detention center, Pec summer 1999
Black clad members of the UCK Military police "PU" are known to have taken active role in illegal arrests, detentions and executions of non-albanian civilians. Their leaders have constantly denied any responsibility with these crimes but have never taken any steps to bring the "usubordinate" elements to justice.
A UCK (TMK) Celebration - Name is changed but not the mentality
New York Times, June 7 1999
By DAVID ROHDE
I REFUGEE CAMP, Macedonia -- For a moment, it seemed as if the mob of
Albanian refugees would literally tear the 7-year-old Gypsy boy apart,
limb from limb, said three
look in their eyes when they tried to tear this boy's arms out -- there
was just fire in their eyes," said Ed Joseph, of the Catholic Relief
Service, one of the aid workers who pulled the
The attack was part of a chaotic and terrifying four-hour siege here as a mob of several thousand Kosovo Albanian refugees tried to seize and beat the Gypsy family.
attack illustrated both the chaos NATO forces could face in Kosovo when
hundreds of thousands of Albanian refugees return home to the shattered
province -- and NATO's
most Serbs, and Gypsies have who allied themselves with the Serbs, are
expected to flee the province before any Kosovo Albanians return, some
elderly people could remain.
Gypsies attacked on Saturday had been in the camp for weeks after crossing
the border from Kosovo. While refugees have reported that Gypsies in
some Kosovo cities have allied
the attack, the refugees, chanting and screaming for blood, tore down
the fence surrounding the Catholic Relief Service's main office here,
kicked in the front door, tore bars from its
violence was only defused after hundreds of Macedonian riot police arrived,
and Christopher Hill, the U.S. ambassador to Macedonia, addressed the
mob at midnight and promised
man's face was the color of an eggplant and his eyes were swollen shut,"
said Paula Ghedini, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for
Refugees. "The other had been
has been tense since refugees started pouring in from neighboring Kosovo
after NATO began its bombing in late March. But it was the worst violence
in Macedonia since
extraordinary authority NATO carries with the refugees and the political
sensitivity of its mission was shown during the siege. The mob repeatedly
demanded that NATO troops
how NATO troops respond to similar situations inside Kosovo could be
crucial in their success. NATO officials are already emphasizing that
they will enforce any peace accord
Trey Cate, a NATO spokesman, said that if they fire their weapons, for
instance, Serbian soldiers, as well as members of the Kosovo Liberation
Army, the separatist Kosovo
Bosnia, NATO's only other peacekeeping mission, whether or how NATO
troops would intervene in such situations was the focus of fierce debate.
At the outset of that mission in
assailed the approach, saying it undermined NATO's authority and allowed
local Muslim, Serb and Croat authorities to act in the sectors they
controlled to thwart efforts by
represents a vastly different mission, but NATO is also likely to face
difficult decisions over the scope of its mission. After NATO forces
enter Kosovo, refugees now in the
chaotic scenario could develop in which NATO forces would be in the
awkward position of potentially blocking refugees from returning to
their country, a right they are guaranteed
A far larger problem could be revenge attacks. The Saturday night attack here illustrates how intense the desire for vengeance may prove.
who was still shaken by the attack Sunday, said the attack seemed to
him to be a grim omen for what could happen in Kosovo when the refugees
return. "I think it's a very bad
one sense, the refugee camps here are sweltering cauldrons of hate,
where increasingly frustrated Kosovo Albanians can commiserate about
their mutual victimization at the hands of
the Cegrane camp here, which holds 40,000 refugees, children recited
poems to a crowd of refugees last Thursday that glorified the Kosovo
Albanian rebel soldiers and listed massacre
"We are the Hague for them," said Afrim Ademi, an Albanian refugee, referring to the international war crimes tribunal in the Netherlands.
of what sparked the attack on the Gypsies were already rampant Sunday.
Nancy A. Shalala, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Relief Service who
was trying to piece together what
Gypsy teen-ager and his father were then beaten in separate attacks
and brought at about 7:30 p.m. to the Catholic Relief building by Kosovo
Albanians who work for the aid agency.
large crowd then began forming around the building, led by a group of
150 to 200 men, Ms. Shalala said. The badly beaten father and son were
moved to the building's bathroom to
agency workers also went to the family's tent to try to retrieve the
mother and three younger children before they too were set upon by the
Albanian refugees. When they arrived at
mob continued to grow. Efforts by Joseph and other aid workers to use
megaphones to get them to disperse failed. The crowd repeatedly rushed
the building, ripping bars from the
Ghedini, the refugee agency spokeswoman, said that at one point her
agency considered evacuating all foreigners from the area. But when
it became clear that the refugees' real
* * * *
Date: 99-06-18 17:16:15 EDT
2. FOCUS-Germans free tortured prisoners held by KLA
Serbia (Reuters) - German soldiers Friday freed about 15 prisoners who
recently had been tortured in a police station occupied by the Kosovo
Liberation Army but they came
KLA's influential Commander Drini said the prisoners, a mix of Albanians,
gypsies and at least one Serb, were criminals. But residents crowding
around the feared ex-MUP special
dead man, about 70 years old and not immediately identified, was found
beaten and handcuffed to a chair in the central Prizren building the
KLA occupied several days ago, German
Serbs who fled Prizren earlier this week charged the KLA often tortured
Serbs but this appeared to be the first case of mishandled people in
KLA captivity to be found in Prizren,
spokesmen stressed they did not know why the prisoners had been held
or who had beaten then. But Major Dietrich Jensch, who led the unit
that cleared out the station, told
found many instruments that could be used as torture instruments,''
said Jeserich, adding these included a club with a chain, sticks with
nails and some kind of skewers. Residents
Berisha, a middle-aged gypsy who was among the freed prisoners, said
he had been held for two days and nights without food or water after
being hauled away from his home by
said that I stole things, but I didn't,'' he told journalists. ``I only
confessed because they put a knife to my throat. They told us -- you
all have to leave here, you cooperated with
Drini, whose real name is Ekrem Rexha, strode out of the police station after witnessing the evacuation and angrily accused Berisha of stealing.
Asked about the incident, Drini admitted it was an embarrassment for the KLA but denied the prisoners had been held for working with the Serbs.
"Collaborators would not wait here, they would have escaped already,'' he told Reuters.
of the prisoners were found handcuffed to radiators or left with their
hands tied behind their backs, said soldiers coming out of the cordoned-off
building. Some were locked into
taking control of the building, German troops seized about 40 pistols
and Kalashnikov rifles, a 120mm mortar shell and several hand grenades.
The 25 KLA soldiers found in the
who inspected the building told journalists they found piles of arms,
including anti-tank weapons, a supply of amphetamines with syringes
and about 1,000 passports that
Most or all of this was presumably left by the Serbian security police.
German NATO force announced Friday morning that it would take over the
two main police stations in Prizren during the day. The KLA was supposed
to have cleared out of them by
Jensch said the KLA soldiers gave themselves up without any resistance but tried to hide some papers and prisoners from them.
The police station takeover was part of the German forces' bid to exert greater control over Prizren, where the KLA has been acting as a kind of friendly parallel power.
The German army announced earlier Friday that KLA soldiers would be banned from carrying weapons around town from midnight.
``We are the authority in this town,'' Jeserich said. `KFOR (NATO's Kosovo Force) is the authority in this
country. We will do what we have to do without any compromises.''
Copyright 1999 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
* * * *
June 22, 1999
June 22 (Tanjug) - We are afraid that Albanians will return our good
with evil, transfers the Vecernji List from Zagreb the words of a resident
of the Kosovo town of Janjevo,
its reportage from this town, the newspaper quotes the words of Croats
from Janjevo, who state that, with the arrival of the terrorist so-called
KLA to this town, provocation from
couple of days ago, disturbing information on the destiny of the Croats
from Janjevo has arrived to the Croat embassy in Skopje. It was said
that the members of the so-called KLA
that, the Albanians have, "for the first time in the decades long
history under different rule", taken off the building of the primary
school the tablet with the name of the poet
of the Zagreb newspaper quote the words of the Croats from Janjevo,
who state that it had been a lot easier for them while "the Serbs
were in power" in their town. No one
newspaper adds that parish priest Matej Palic negotiates with the Albanians,
representatives of the KFOR and the so-called KLA, in the hope that
"reason will triumph". "I cannot
* * * *
The New York Times, June 24, 1999
THE FRENCH MARINES
By CARLOTTA GALL
MITROVICA, Yugoslavia -- French troops are barely keeping the lid on violence here, in the main city of their sector of Kosovo.
French on Wednesday deployed armored vehicles and foot patrols down
the narrow streets of the Gypsy quarter, to stop Albanian looters, who
ransacked houses and set fire to two
earlier Wednesday, the French came under fire from a Serb gunman, who
had forced his way into an Albanian house. They returned the fire and
quickly apprehended the gunman,
only 2,400 troops so far in their zone in northern Kosovo, the French
soldiers admit that they do not have the manpower to guarantee safety
on every street. "I cannot position a
Albanians were the ones looting and burning this time, acting out grudges against Gypsies.
men and boys ran away across wasteland from the Gypsy quarter. One was
carrying a rolled-up carpet on his head, another was weighed down with
bulging bags. Behind them a
troops blocked the streets and checked the houses, but their action
was late. The houses spilled open with abandoned goods, furniture, cookers
and fridges. Clothes were strewn
"It's been going on for two days here," a French officer said of the looting. "They are largely Gypsy homes and it is Albanians doing it."
Gypsy community seemed to have left the area. One old man was fetching
his dog and talking to the French soldiers, but otherwise the district
was abandoned. Serbs, too, were
are some 5,000 Serbs still in Mitrovica, and they are making an aggressive
bid to retain control of one section of the town and turn it into a
Serb-dominated quarter. Over the last few
Serbs' anger is palpable. They accuse Albanians of trying to penetrate
their part of town and threatening them or forcing them to leave Kosovo.
They have for several days gathered
They are scared, and with some reason. The previous day two Serbs were killed and one was wounded in a shooting on one of the bridges, French troops confirmed.
Serbs feel threatened, and they are rejecting the Albanians more and
more," said a French marine, Capt. Jean-Michel Huet. "They
say they are standing there because they are
French are allowing the effective division of the town into ethnic districts,
figuring that offers the easiest way to protect one ethnic group from
another. "We do not advise anyone to
is easier to protect a block of people, rather than family by family,"
Huet said. "We cannot accompany everybody." The French have
come in for criticism that they are encouraging
remains in a strange state of limbo. The French are the only force in
town. There has been no police force since the Serb police pulled out
at the weekend. The Albanian guerrilla
Serb mayor is still working in his office, and is guarded by big, forceful
plainclothesmen on the door. The French said they expect him to leave
soon and to be replaced by an
will be the job of the United Nations to form a police force and to
run everything from refuse collection to prisons. But for the moment.
the French troops are to keep the order by
To encourage the Serbs and Albanians, and the hapless Gypsies, to live together will take a long time, maybe decades, Huet said.
Meanwhile, the balance is still changing. As more Albanians return home, they will vastly outnumber the Serbs here. Their growing presence is unnerving the remaining Serbs.
Branko Barovic, 47, a Serb, said that 20 years ago, the Serb community numbered 33,000 in Mitrovica, a town of 120,000 people.
Now it had dwindled to 5,000 and is falling further. Despite their efforts to form a Serb quarter, it does not seem to be holding.
will be Albanian schools, Albanian language, Albanian shops, complete
"Albanisation," Barovic said. "There will be eight Albanians
for one Serb in the administration. Everyone
As he was speaking, shots rang out behind some high rise apartment buildings. "Someone is revolted. They are leaving and are shooting in the air. They are angry," he said.
across the river were also anxious. One family was washing obscene Serb
graffiti off their living room walls. They said they had a Serb policeman
still living in an apartment
could live with Serbs who did not commit any massacres. Like one Serb
friend we have who did nothing bad. But this man downstairs, I cannot
stand him," said Raif Cuna, 33, an
Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company
* * * *
The Christian Science Monitor's electronic edition
By: Lucian Kim, Special to The Christian Science Monitor
(KOSOVO POLJE, YUGOSLAVIA)
They are Europe's most unwanted people. Roma, or Gypsies, are often denounced as a race and bounced from place to place.
Now, in the aftermath of the Kosovo war, tens of thousands of them who lived in the war-shattered province are in a state of dangerous limbo.
50,000 or more Serbs who fled to Serbia proper last week, the Gypsies
also left their homes, fearing reprisals from ethnic Albanians because
many of them sided with the Serbian
Only days after they arrived in Serbia, however, the government ordered them to leave.
group of several hundred made it back to the Kosovo capital of Pristina
in 12 dusty buses on June 20, and then fled to a schoolyard in a predominantly
Serbian town three miles
"We want to go to Serbia, but they won't let us stay," says Tefik Avduli. "The KLA [Kosovo Liberation Army] will ..." He draws his index finger across his throat.
They hold little faith in the pledge of NATO, whose forces in Kosovo are known as KFOR, to keep all residents safe.
"We are a small people," says Mr. Avduli. "The Serbian police and government were a good guarantee. But KFOR, why don't they come here to guard our safety?"
father of three, whose jampacked Volkswagen is parked behind a bus,
says he and his family fled their hometown of Vucitrn in northern Kosovo
last week. But after only a few days in
"We don't know where to go, because nobody is interested in us," says Rasit Zivoli, another Roma from Vucitrn. "At the same time, our houses are being robbed."
their insecurity, the Gypsies here do not blame the Serbian government
for their plight. Instead they heap abuse on ethnic Albanians and the
international peacekeepers. "NATO
Vranjevac the story is rather different. "The Gypsies always came
here and shouted insults at us," says Behar Hoti, a young ethnic
Albanian who stayed with his family in Vranjevac
Roma acted as guides for paramilitaries from Serbia, say KLA guerrillas
and locals alike. Ethnic Albanians almost universally hate the Roma
- not necessarily for their dark skin color
Gypsies, they did everything: They looted, burned, and killed people,"
says Nazmir Gashi, a KLA fighter standing outside his whitewashed family
compound. "Together with the
Mr. Gashi, a former coal miner, agrees that the Serbs despise the Roma almost just as much. "They always go with those who are in power," he says.
Serbian statistics put the number of Roma in Kosovo at 97,000, out of
a total population of some 2 million. As in other countries in the region,
they live on the margins of society,
Konxheli, Gashi's son-in-law, says he returned to his home on June 20.
"When my Gypsy neighbors saw that I had returned, they ran away,"
he says. "The Gypsies have blood
To read this story online: http://www.csmonitor.com/durable/1999/06/23/fp7s1-csm.shtml
* * * *
By Matt Spetalnick
PRISTINA, June 25 (Reuters) - Thousands of Gypsies are fleeing their homes in Kosovo because of revenge attacks by ethnic Albanians who accuse them of collaborating with their Serb oppressors.
the embattled Yugoslav province, Gypsies -- who call themselves Roma
-- have begun streaming out of towns and villages in the third wave
of refugees spawned by Kosovo's
sources say renegade members of the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army
have joined in the violent reprisals. Dozens of Gypsy homes have been
looted and burned, and there
3,000 frightened Gypsy refugees from across Kosovo have sought sanctuary
in the past few days at a dilapidated schoolhouse in the town of Kosovo
Polje, on the outskirts of the
Hundreds who fled north toward Belgrade were turned back at the border by Yugoslav forces who told them they were not welcome in the rest of Serbia.
``We are innocent people who have done nothing wrong, yet the Albanians want to kill us all,'' a 20-year-old Gypsy man said at the Kosovo Polje encampment.
ethnic Albanians paint a different picture. They accuse the Gypsies,
who number about 150,000 in Kosovo, of forming special brigades to loot
and burn homes during a brutal
Even more troubling are accusations of war crimes, including the digging of mass graves to hide victims of Serb massacres.
But international relief officials caution against making snap judgments about the Gypsies' alleged role in the Serb campaign to purge Kosovo of its Albanian majority.
times of ethnic strife, people look for a scapegoat,'' said Paula Ghedini,
a spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency. ``The Roma have a long history
of being outcast,
of the first signs that ethnic Albanians were thirsting for revenge
came earlier this month at a Macedonian refugee camp when a mob screaming
for blood attacked a Gypsy family
Now that Albanian refugees are flowing back to find burned-out homes, mined fields and poisoned wells, the backlash is gaining strength.
Mitrovica, under the noses of French troops, angry Albanians looted
and torched already-abandoned Gypsy homes on Thursday in a classic example
of Kosovo's cycle of ethnic
``They looted and burned our houses. Now that we have returned we are doing the same to them,'' said Sadik Derguti, a 65-year-old Albanian.
numbers of displaced Gypsies -- estimated at more than 10,000 so far
-- are dwarfed by the million ethnic Albanians and more than 50,000
Serbs who fled their homes in the Kosovo
made up only a fraction of the province's pre-war population of two
million. They are mostly poor but unlike their nomadic brethren in other
parts of Europe, many have roots in
Despite that, aid officials warn the latest wave could grow into a flood unless NATO peacekeepers take urgent action to curb the attacks.
violence between Serb and Albanian civilians now threatening to spiral
out of control, NATO has sought to ease tensions by pledging to protect
all groups equally. But that has
In Kosovo Polje, returning ethnic Albanians spit out curses as they drive past the refugee compound. Outside the gates, a British tank stands guard to ward off trouble.
``NATO has only made things worse for us, so we will never trust them'' one Gypsy man said.
03:07 06-25-99 Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
* * * *
AP, June 29, 1999
By Dina Kyriakidou
June 28 (Reuters) - Tales of murder, rape and pillage have spread terror
among Kosovo gypsy refugees in Macedonia, who say they won't go home
while ethnic Albanians hold
``Albanians stormed into my in-laws' house in Kosovo Polje (near Pristina) and raped my 15 year-old sister-in-law in front of the family a few days ago,'' said Krieziou Tefik, 25.
his wife and three children sought refuge in March from the Kosovo conflict
among their Macedonian ethnic kin in the sprawling gypsy shantytown
of Topana in the capital
of the latest twist in the Balkan saga of ethnic hatred, gypsies tell
of relatives killed and homes burnt in the mayhem that gripped Kosovo
after the NATO air strikes ended. ``We
Albanians, themselves the victims of what the West described as systematic
and brutal ethnic cleansing by Serb forces, accuse the gypsies of collaborating
Reprisals, mainly aimed at Kosovo Serbs who are now fleeing the region, have also been directed against gypsies, with increasing reports of abductions, beatings and killings.
brother went out to buy cigarettes and was shot dead. We had to leave
and didn't even have time to bury his body,'' said Bajrami Berisha,
45, one of six brothers from the southern
20,000 Kosovo gypsies joined tens of thousands of ethnic Albanians taking
refuge in their impoverished Balkan neighbour, according to Amdi Bajram,
dared to go to the camps, where they are easily recognisable. A gypsy
family was attacked by a mob of ethnic Albanians in a camp earlier this
month after being accused of
are a vulnerable group,'' U.N. refugee agency UNHCR spokeswoman Astrid
Van Genderen Stort told Reuters. ``They were verbally and physically
attacked even in the camps,
Many have sought refuge in the colourful patchwork of crude dwellings that make up Topana, a 300-year-old gypsy quarter used as the backdrop of the 1989 film ``Time of the Gypsies.''
11,000 of Macedonia's 120,000 gypsies live in the labyrinth of narrow
paths criss-crossed by heavy laundry lines, where children play in streams
of waste water and barefoot men
Unlike their ethnic kin in other Balkan countries, Kosovo gypsies are not nomadic and most have roots in their villages and cities that span several generations.
While most estimates put the number of Kosovo gypsies at 150,000 out of the provinces's total population of 1,8 million, Bajram says the number is nearer 350,000.
off reports that Kosovo gypsies participated in crimes against ethnic
Albanians, Bajram said that even if a few were forced to cooperate,
this was no excuse to condemn a
exaggerate a few cases to stop the Roma (gypsies) from returning to
Kosovo,'' he said. ``Kosovo is a multi-ethnic society and it's the Albanians
who are doing ethnic cleansing
05:55 06-28-99 Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
* * * *
By ELLEN KNICKMEYER
.c The Associated Press
Yugoslavia (AP) - Ethnic Albanians seeking revenge for atrocities committed
against them in Kosovo aren't just targeting Serbs. They are attacking
the province's Gypsies, accusing
thousands of Kosovo's Gypsy minority have fled since the end of the
NATO bombardment. Ethnic Albanians accuse Gypsies, also known as Roma,
of joining with the Serbs in
Ethnic Albanians claim Serbs often paid Roma to dig mass graves or dispose of the corpses of massacre victims.
said Roma burned their homes, but they didn't. It was the Serbs. We
are innocent,'' Nuri Gashi, a 54-year-old Gypsy, said last week in the
western city of Pec as her ethnic Albanian
The newly returned refugees had come back to the neighborhood to find the bodies of 17 ethnic Albanians in the yards and rooms of their burned houses.
Survivors of the May 10 massacre in the quarter said two Roma men had killed alongside Serb paramilitaries.
did awful things,'' said Kosovo Liberation Army soldier Nazmi Latifi,
summoning onlookers away from the burning Gypsy houses to show them
the newly dug graves and unburied
Many of the neighborhood's 100 Gypsy households fled with Serb civilians when Yugoslav soldiers withdrew earlier this month.
Arson and threats chased out the rest by late last week, leaving only Gashi, her husband, Shaban, 62, and three other Gypsies.
``All Roma, they did not behave as well as these two,'' said ethnic Albanian Selim Salihi, nodding at the Gashis.
Frightened by repeated KLA visits to their home, Shaban Gashi said: ``We have no money, no where else to go.''
the war, widespread attacks on Gypsies have included Roma men found
beaten in KLA custody in Pristina, Gypsy men found with their throats
cut in Pec, and countless arsons that
Even during the war, ethnic Albanians in refugee camps outside Kosovo attacked Roma refugees on occasion, claiming they recognized them as participants in Serb atrocities.
On Tuesday, a Roma man was in a Pec jail taken over by Italian NATO forces, brought in by KLA soldiers who wanted him investigated as a war crimes suspect.
Preliminary evidence indicated the man was an informant for Serbian police, Italian officers said, refusing to identify the man.
The man was the only known war crimes suspect to be held in the area.
eastern Europe, Gypsies, who have lived for centuries on the fringes
of societies, are a large but often despised minority, blamed for thefts
and other petty crimes. In
U.N. refugee workers say it's impossible to determine how many Roma have fled Kosovo, or even how many lived here before the war.
For a few days following the peace accord, Roma were the people seen most often in western Kosovo's villages - after Serb civilians withdrew and before ethnic Albanians returned.
homes were the only ones left unburned by Serbs in some villages, spared
because of the ``Romi'' spray painted, probably by ethnic Albanians,
on the doors or gates. When ethnic
they've always been accused as allies of the Serbs. In the old pecking
order, they were higher than the Albanians, and as a result, they're
coming under a lot of pressure now,''
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.
* * * *
Turkish Daily News Tue, 29 Jun 1999 Volume 1 : Number 43
By SIBEL UTKU Ankara - Turkish Daily News
virtual end of the Serbian rule in Kosovo does not outline a bright
prospect for the nearly 20,000 Turks in the province. They believe that
Albanian nationalism is more dangerous and
of siding with the Serbs during the Kosovo crisis, the Turks are deeply
concerned that once the Albanians take over the administration of the
province, they will face pressure
Turkish Daily News talked with Kosovar Turks who found refuge in Turkey
during the crisis. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, for obvious
reasons, the Kosovo Turks
explained that from the very beginning of the Kosovo crisis in the early
1990s, when the Albanians started boycotting state institutions, the
Turks came under pressure to join the
Turks did not support the armed resistance of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), either.
However, they say, this had nothing to with taking the Serbian side.
Turks have their schools and departments of Turkish philology in the
universities, their political party and cultural associations. Radio
and television broadcasts in Turkish are
are a tiny community. We had our rights, and we were concerned that
if we turned against Belgrade, we might lose what we had already gotten.
We had to be impartial," said one of
"Maybe the Serbs also disliked us, but at least they always respected us," a refugee from Pristina said.
"We all admit that the Albanians faced unbelievable atrocities and oppression. But now that they think they are victorious, they want to exert the same oppression on us," he added.
accusations of Turkish collaboration with the Serbs seem to be only
the visible tip of the iceberg. The detestation is deep-rooted and stems
from the Albanians' extremist
The religious, linguistic and cultural similarities between Kosovo's Turks and Albanians have failed to prevent the emergence of a confidence rift between them throughout the years.
Turks say that the overwhelming majority of Albanians reject their Turkish
identity and maintain that they are actually Albanians. This intolerance
has lead to visible discrimination. It
The Kosovar Turks say that Albanian scholars such as Esat Haskuka and Malic Osi have written theories rejecting the Turkish presence in Kosovo.
another example, they remember with anger an article by an Albanian
columnist in the early 1990s. The columnist, Teki Dervishi, maintained
that "the Turks are the dirtiest nation in the
the Serbs were respectfully the second and the third "runners-up" in this classification.
Kosovar Turks say that the Albanian head of Pristina Radio and Television
refused to give permission in the early 1990s for a limited broadcast
of TRT-INT on certain days of the
The same barriers are equally visible in the very simplest matters of daily life.
you go to a shop run by an Albanian or to an Albanian doctor, in most
cases you will not receive any service if you do not speak in Albanian...
The prices may change, depending on
Her husband remembered how a Turkish religious site dedicated to the Ottoman Sultan Murat was attacked by Albanians in the years before the crisis started, and police had to intervene.
can we side with them after living throughout all this? How can we trust
[them]? What will be the gain of siding with the Albanians when they
don't even want to accept us as
admit that many Turks who were fed up with the pressure and who wanted
to make their lives easier had accepted Albanian identity. "My
cousin in Ipek says that he is an
Now with reports coming from Kosovo about Albanian reprisals on Serbs and gypsies, the Turks' concerns are growing.
never rebelled against the state. We will be loyal to any government
that ensures our rights, our identity and safety. We are Turks, and
all we want is to be acknowledged as
He stresses that Turkey should immediately take action to protect the Kosovar Turks.
the Kosovar Turks urgently ask is the opening of a Turkish consulate,
either in Pristina or Prizren. They demand more attention from the motherland
and believe that Turkey's
their only guarantee.
"If we continue to feel unsafe, the only way out is immigrating to Turkey," the Kosovar Turks agree.
* * * *
By Andrew Gray
Serbia, June 30 (Reuters) - U.N. human rights chief Mary Robinson, on
a visit to Kosovo on Wednesday, expressed alarm at the fate of Gypsies
and Serbs targeted by angry
Robinson was clearly shocked at the tales she heard at a refugee camp for Gypsies, who said they had been forced to flee for their lives and told of beatings and looting by Albanians.
said Serbs were also under pressure. Thousands fearing revenge attacks
from Albanians have already quit the province since international peacekeepers
took control earlier this
really very worried about the situation of minorities. I'm more worried
now, having come here, than I was before I came,'' Robinson, the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human
Albanians, who make up the vast majority of Kosovo's population, have
accused Gypsies of collaborating with the wave of Serb terror against
them which swept the province this
Gypsies have also been accused of looting Albanians' homes set ablaze by Serb forces during the orgy of violence.
Many ethnic Albanians have taken advantage of a law and order vacuum created after Serb forces withdrew from the province to exact revenge on both Kosovo Serbs and Gypsies.
``If the Serb population drops too dramatically, then it will drop altogether and that, I think, can happen village by village,'' Robinson said.
also insisted that Serbs who had carried out atrocities and human rights
abuses against ethnic Albanians should not be allowed to escape justice.
Yugoslav President Slobodan
``We must break the cycle of impunity,'' Robinson said.
former Irish president was able to see the cycle at first hand during
her visit. She toured an overgrown hillside just south of the provincial
capital Pristina, where fresh mounds of
told Robinson the Albanians were killed by Serb police. Some bodies
had been burned away to leave so little that several corpses had been
buried in a single grave, said one man,
At the camp for Roma Gypsies in the Pristina suburb of Kosovo Polje, Robinson found refugees living without even basic amenities. Many families were living together inside large tents.
``Do you think the situation is getting worse for minorities?'' she asked one man.
``Yes. It's worsening every minute,'' he told her. ``Two minutes ago, ten more families arrived here.''
Another man displayed huge bruises all over his back. He said he had been beaten by ethnic Albanians simply for continuing to work at a Serb-run factory.
are families with small children, elderly people and they're suffering
in being, I think, very much caught in the middle so it's particularly
tragic for them,'' Robinson said at the
conditions here are quite inadequate so I'll certainly be raising that,''
she added. ``We have to have particular concern for these people because
they are so vulnerable and their
She stressed it was vital for the international community to keep pouring resources into Kosovo to establish security. ``These people are here because they're frightened,'' she said.
12:35 06-30-99 Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
* * * *
By JIM HEINTZ
.c The Associated Press
POLJE, Yugoslavia (AP) - As one of Kosovo's Gypsies, Naser Adiqi says
he tried to get along with both Albanians and Serbs. Now, in the squalor
of a refugee camp, he says
is one of about 3,000 Gypsies who have jammed into the field outside
a schoolhouse in this town six miles west of the Kosovo capital, Pristina,
fleeing threats from ethnic Albanians
number is miniscule compared to the 860,000 or so ethnic Albanians who
fled Kosovo this spring, and the Gypsy refugees tell mainly of beatings
and threats over the past three
the chaotic camp is a stark reminder of the ethnic tensions that still
shoot through Kosovo following the end of the 78-day NATO air war last
month and of the disdain directed at
Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson cited the Gypsy refugee camp
this week in her assessment that ``now is the most worrying time'' for
restoring security to postwar
houses have been torched across Kosovo since the Yugoslav army withdrew
last month, part of a wave of retaliation by Albanians for years of
violence and oppression at the
That allegation is denied by Gypsies in the camp, who say they were caught between the two larger ethnic groups.
``We were the people who didn't take sides,'' said Adiqi, a leader in the camp. But, he said, last month Albanians came to his home in Magura and told him to leave in two hours.
``They took my 6-year-old daughter and threatened to cut her throat. They said, 'If you leave, we will give you your daughter back,''' he said.
``I just screamed,'' said his daughter Gjulijet.
``We haven't done anything, but they still chase us away,'' Shehide Gashi said while her friend Ikire Hasani stood beside her in the rain, miming gestures of throats and breasts being cut.
can understand the Albanians were bitter ... but now that they're returning,
we're paying,'' Adiqi said, sitting in a filthy room in the schoolhouse
while cries and shouts echoed in the
``But we are even more angry with Serbia because it will not accept us,'' he said. ``If there's no country that can take us, something catastrophic will happen.''
of the Gypsy refugees say their tormentors wore uniforms of the rebel
Kosovo Liberation Army, which they see as a bitter irony. Kosovo's Gypsies
often have Albanian names and
``I used to trust in the KLA. Otherwise, I would have left earlier,'' said Selman Berisha of the small settlement, Dobroje Vogel.
Celaj, a spokesman for the KLA in Pristina, denied that the group was
involved. ``We have sent many of our people to appeal (to Albanians),''
he said. ``Stop doing this to these
But he acknowledged that resentment of Gypsies is high. Asked how many of the refugees he believes may have collaborated with Serbs, he said, ``Most of them.''
The displaced Gypsies feel betrayed also by aid agencies and say that food aid has been scarce. Adiqi said the 3,000 in the camp get only 600 loaves of bread a day.
Boracic, a Serb who heads the Kosovo Red Cross that supervises the camp,
said his agency is desperately seeking for more food donations and lamented:
``The simple people are
showing the suspicion that so many in Kosovo harbor toward Gypsies,
he said: ``Some of them in the camp, they're just there because they
heard the food was free. They're used to
``If they want to go to another country,'' he added, ``we wish them a safe journey.''
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.
* * * *
NATIONAL POST, Friday, July 2, 1999
Young Kosovars looting their own people
By Julius Strauss - The Daily Telegraph
PRISTINA - Gang rule on the streets of Pristina is becoming an increasing headache for soldiers trying to restore peace to Kosovo.
United Nations has set up an office in the city with the aim of trying
to rebuild civic institutions, and aggressive patrolling by NATO has
prevented total anarchy. But the soldiers can
activities of the violent underclass from Kosovo and Albania intent on profiting from the chaos.
the war ended nearly three weeks ago, the primary victims were Serb
civilians and Gypsies who stayed in the capital. Many of them have since
fled, and it is now the ethnic
NATO's occupation plan, Pristina falls into the British sector of control.
But troops, including Canadian soldiers attached to the British command,
are hard pressed to curb the
The lack of a civilian administration means that many Pristina residents now fear a knock on the door, particularly at night.
Young men -- some freelancers, others working as frontmen for gangs --prowl apartment blocks looking for empty flats to commandeer.
a middle-aged ethnic Albanian housewife who stayed through the war in
Pristina and lives in a well-to-do district, said: "We're having
different kinds of problems now. Problems
Albanians showed unparalleled generosity to their ethnic cousins from
Kosovo when the war began. But many saw the crisis as a way to profit,
and it is they who have now come
of the looting is carried out by dispirited ethnic Albanians from the
countryside who lost everything during the three-month Serb orgy of
destruction. A few have moved into
the NATO peacekeepers, sympathy with those who suffered under Serb rule
is wearing thin. A Canadian soldier said yesterday he had to intervene
after a group of Albanians moved
of the problems are from people from small towns who have lost their
houses," he said. "They come to Pristina looking for what
they can get. But they can't go around attacking
is now much in evidence in Pristina. Typically, gang members drive a
Jeep or a Mercedes with as many as five men, some swarthy and unshaven,
crammed in. They wear
the prowl for "business" opportunities, they operate against
the background of general lawlessness that is overwhelming Pristina.
As refugees return, scores are settled and houses
a young ethnic Albanian who has recently returned and is six months'
pregnant, said: "It makes you feel uncomfortable watching all the
looting and the burning houses. I am
Letters to Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
* * * *
By Dina Kyriakidou
JELOVJANE, Macedonia, July 11 (Reuters) - Macedonia's Moslems say their kin in Kosovo are helplessly trapped between two worlds and suffering the consequences.
``We are worried about our relatives. Groups of Albanian youths are terrorising them and they have little food,'' said Jese Misin, 45, at the northwestern Macedonian village of Jelovjane.
to have converted to Islam during the centuries of Ottoman rule in the
Balkans, these Macedonians share religion with the ethnic Albanian minority
but language and customs
after the mountainous Gora region that straddles Macedonia and the Serb
province of Kosovo, the 120,000 Goran are dubbed the ``pearl of the
nation'' for their devotion to
This, the Goran say, is the problem.
can tell me I'm an Albanian, I speak Macedonian and I am Macedonian,''
said Alija Fejzolovski, 31, slamming his ID on the table of the village
coffee shop. ``The Albanians are
on a cloud-covered peak of the Shar Planina mountain range, the village
founded by shepherds 500 years ago is seven km (five miles) of hairpin
turns above Macedonia's largely
asphalt road built last year to link it with civilisation did not appear
to affect its customs -- women dressed in traditional costumes, covered
from chin to toe with thick black wool
have to cover my face and wear this outside but I take it off when I'm
home,'' one young woman said, opening her heavy coat to reveal brightly
coloured pantaloons and layers of
Macedonian World Congress has raised the alarm over the fate of the
40,000 Goran in Kosovo, appealing to Albanians to refrain from abusing
this unique group and to the world
``(We) ask that a new humanitarian disaster is stopped,'' the Macedonian diaspora organisation said in a protest letter.
Ethnic Albanians returning to Kosovo to find death and destruction have lashed out against Serbs and Gypsies. There was no independent confirmation the same was true for the Goran.
German KFOR Kosovo peacekeepers in charge of the area said their villages were just too remote and had not been reached.
among Jelovjane's 600 villagers said they had family across the mountain
in Kosovo -- the border dividing them was drawn just eight years ago,
when Macedonia declared
War-shattered telecommunications prevented direct contact but shepherds who made a centuries-old trek over the mountains brought them discouraging news.
``Shepherds come to sell their cheese here because they are afraid to go to the market there. They tell us our families are harassed by Albanians, Misin said.
Ten of his relatives who took refuge in Jelovjane during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, returned to their village of Restelica last week after hearing their homes were being looted.
Some pinned their hopes on the recent arrival of Turkish KFOR troops in the Gora town of Dragash.
``I am sure that the Goran in Kosovo will feel much better because the Turkish army will be protecting them,'' said Abdi Murat, 61, the head municipal official.
04:48 07-11-99 Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
* * * *
by Don Feder
Thursday, July 8, 1999
- On a van from Sofia, a little girl cringed when her mother told her
I was an American. ``Is he going to put a bomb in our car?'' she asked.
In light of what my country did to
Jamie Shea, NATO's minister of disinformation, said the alliance bombed
with precision, I can believe it. In tens of thousands of sorties, U.S.
planes managed to hit civilian targets
were, President Clinton insisted, degrading Slobodan Milosevic's military
capacity by bombing a defenseless people from an altitude of 15,000
feet. In Belgrade and Novi Sad, I began
the streets of this lovely capital at the confluence of the Danube and
Sava, the evidence isn't glaring. True, there are buildings with large
chunks missing. My interpreter, Ivana
entire facade was ripped away; the interior is a mass of rubble. In
this particular ``strategic strike,'' 17 died. The justification was
that Serbian television was spreading Milosevic's
But elsewhere, the rubble has been cleared away. The bodies were buried; the psychological scars remain. For three months, residents hunkered down like soldiers in the trenches.
We drove to Novi Sad, the nation's second largest city. This cosmopolitan provincial capital, with an ethnically diverse population, took the brunt of NATO's wrath.
The allies bombed the 2 million-acre Fruska Gora national park, possibly to keep the animals and birds from joining the Yugoslav army.
Novi Sad's refinery was hit 13 times. The resulting fires burned 50,000 tons of crude oil, sending billowing clouds of toxins and carcinogens into the air, contaminating groundwater.
scientists say it could take decades to assess the impact of this deliberate
poisoning of water, soil and air Perhaps Al Gore will include a chapter
on the bombing of Novi
there were three bridges in Novi Sad spanning the Danube and linking
two sides of the city - bringing patients to the hospital on one, carrying
food to the other and transporting
Each day, 30,000 cross by barge. What happens when the Danube freezes over in the winter? It takes two to three years to build a bridge and seconds to sever these vital arteries.
principal of the Svetozar Markovic Elementary School points out cracks
in the school's foundation, collapsed ceilings and ruined equipment.
Without water or electricity, the school
bomb made a crater 10 meters deep in the schoolyard. There is nothing
that could conceivably be considered a strategic asset in this residential
neighborhood - unless NATO was
Someone had scrawled on an outer wall of the school, ``Do you think of your children while you bomb ours?''
is the decline of Western civilization,'' says Aleksandar Mosic (whose
name means ``little Moses'' in Serb), a leader of Belgrade's Jewish
community. ``What the Western governments
80 and a retired chemical engineer, at the outset of World War II Mosic
left Belgrade for the Dalmatian coast. His parents told him not to come
back. They died. He spent the war
speak of ethnic cleansing of the Albanians is such stupidity,'' Mosic
maintains. ``Why weren't the 100,000 Albanians in Belgrade ethnically
cleansed?'' Mosic asked if I knew that the
Today, Serbs are being cleansed from Kosovo under the eyes of NATO peacekeepers. Yesterday, NATO tried to rinse them from the rest of Serbia.
Even if the allegations against Milosevic were true, did that justify the terror bombing of civilians - many of whom opposed to his policies?
what if they weren't true, or if Kosovar Albanians and Serbs were both
at fault? Then the International War Crimes Tribunal should begin making
arrests in Washington and
* * * *
By RUTH FREMSON
.c The Associated Press
Yugoslavia (AP) - Though they all have homes nearby, hundreds of Gypsies
are camping out along a muddy stream, chased into the open by returning
Facing retribution, untold thousands of Kosovo's Gypsy minority have fled Kosovo since the end of the NATO bombardment and the departure of Serbian forces in June.
Gypsies tried to stay but said Saturday that they now feel pressured
to go. Many of the 400 camped along the stream say their homes had been
destroyed in the past week.
Conditions are squalid. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has given them tents, though most of their shelters consist of lean-tos of blue plastic sheeting.
wash clothes in muddy puddles, but 7-year-old Valentina Behluli found
a blue plastic bucket to wash her pink pants. Drying laundry hung over
headstones in an Albanian cemetery
The Gypsies' recent experience has fueled their hostility. They shout at curses at passing bus carrying ethnic Albanians.
on a sunny afternoon, Muharem Ibrahimi shaved himself near a footbridge
as his wife held a mirror near his face. He says his house was burned
down by Kosovo Liberation
doesn't want to return home, and neither do the others. Nor do they
want to be repatriated elsewhere in Kosovo, or elsewhere in Yugoslavia.
The UNHCR is negotiating to get them
AP-NY-07-11-99 1607EDT Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.
* * * *
TIME July 8 1999
Whether or not they helped the Serbs, Kosovo's Gypsies are being driven out and that's nothing new for this continually tormented group
lived in Kosovo for generations, but that meant nothing when angry men
in uniform went from door to door through their neighborhoods, beating
them at random, dragging them
that was before NATO took control of Kosovo, right? Wrong. The ethnic
cleansing of Kosovos estimated 100,000 Gypsies began only after
the Serbs withdrew and the Kosovo
a despised people living at the margins of society all across the Balkans
and the wider European continent from Russia to Spain, their persecution
at the hands of returning ethnic
the Kosovar attacks on the Roma arent based simply on traditional
European stereotyping of Gypsies as a menacing criminal element; theyre
a response to the Gypsies perceived
many Roma people worked for the Serbs usually as manual laborers
- throughout their campaign of violence against ethnic Albanians
is not in dispute. "Ever since Serbia
when the Serbs were butchering Kosovar Albanians, they paid Gypsies
to clear rubble and dig the graves. The Roma population many
of whom painted the word "Rom" on their
the fury of the returning Kosovars, however, the Gypsy population as
a whole is being targeted for retribution, regardless of whether they
actually worked for the Serbs or not.
Kosovos Serbs and ethnic Albanians, its Gypsies have few international
advocates speaking out on their behalf. U.N. Human Rights Commissioner
Mary Robinson and its high
-- TONY KARON
* * * *
By COLLEEN BARRY
.c The Associated Press
Yugoslavia (AP) - As new reports surfaced of retribution by ethnic Albanians,
a Kosovo Gypsy leader today demanded safe passage to another country
for thousands of his
Many Gypsies have fled Kosovo since NATO's bombing campaign ended last month and Serb military and police departed.
packed into a huge camp outside Pristina, or took refuge elsewhere,
out of fear of persecution by ethnic Albanians who accuse them of collaboration
in the Serbs' violent campaign
``We would even go to the Himalayas to have freedom and rights,'' said Ibrahim Hasani, co-leader of more than 5,000 Gypsies encamped at a school in Kosovo Polje since June 13.
If international officials or Kosovo peacekeepers don't provide a safe corridor for them to leave, ``we'll open corridors of our own,'' he said.
Minority Serbs have been the primary target of ethnic Albanian retribution since the refugees began returning.
the latest such reported attack, an official in Serbia's ruling Socialist
Party and his wife were severely beaten in Pristina, the provincial
capital, the Yugoslav news agency reported. The
There was no immediate confirmation by the NATO-led peacekeeping force, known as KFOR.
incidents reported by KFOR reflected continuing unrest in the province,
where at least 662,000 of the estimated 860,000 Kosovo Albanians who
fled during NATO airstrikes and
A half-dozen fires were reported in Prizren, and Serbs set a house in Pec ablaze. KFOR soldiers also arrested Serbs and ethnic Albanians for having weapons in Kosovo.
aid groups Medecins du Monde (Doctors of the World) and Oxfam have been
providing aid to the Gypsies living at Kosovo Polje, where goats and
horses wander among tents.
But refugee officials are reluctant to guarantee the Gypsies, also known as Roma, passage out.
their situation becomes untenable then we'll have to resort to evacuating
them,'' Kris Janowski, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for
Refugees, said in Geneva. ``But we
The issue of where they would go is difficult, he added, noting that even Serbia is ``very, very wary of accepting anybody, including the Serbs from Kosovo at the moment.''
the Yugoslav capital today, Serbian opposition activists resumed a campaign
to oust Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic despite a police ban of
their action. Some 200 people
The main pro-democracy group, the Alliance for Change, has gathered some 150,000 signatures for the petition.
one key opposition leader, Vuk Draskovic, refused to join protests organized
by the group. He announced today that he would campaign on his own for
a change of leadership in
AP-NY-07-13-99 0830EDT Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.