2. July 12, Report from Lipljan
3. July 13, Report from Novo Brdo
Today, on the Feast Day of SS Apostles Peter and Paul, I served a Holy Liturgy in my parish church in Lipljan together with my colleague priest Fr. Zivojin Kojic (from 8.00 - 9.30 a.m). The church was almost full of people. At that time a larger group of Albanians, which were not from Lipljan, began gathering in the main streets of Lipljan, in the areas where Serb inhabitants live (95%). This gathering soon turned into a riot against the local Serb population and was continued with burning of several Serb houses, throwing of Molotov cocktails and real bombs in Serb homes and courtyards. True, the Albanians had announced their "peaceful demonstrations" two days ago, but this were not peaceful demonstrations but a real terror.
Around 11.00 several Serb houses were stoned in Aca Marovic Street and Kosovska Street. The Molotov cocktails were thrown on four Serb houses. The owners of these houses are: Bozidar Aksic, Slavisa Simionovic, Zoran Brkljac and Ilija Cepkenovic (all from Lipljan) as well as on the building owned by Ljubinko Andjelkovic, a Serb from Lipljan too. Three houses have almost completely burned down while the fire in Cepkenovic house as well as in the building was put down by the local Serbs.
At 13.30 unidentified Albanians threw a bomb on the house of Miladin Mladenovic. In this incident his son Zoran Mladenovic (32) and his friend Djordje Kocinac (33) were wounded. The latter is an IDP from Stimlje. The both wounded Serbs were transported by KFOR soldiers to a British military hospital in Lipljan where they were given a medical treatment. Soon after a bomb was thrown on the house of Ognjen Todic. In this bomb attack Milutin Kostic (44) was seriously wounded. He was also taken by KFOR to the military hospital but was immediately transported by a helicopter to Skopje. The third bomb was thrown on the house of Ljubomir Smiljic, but thank God, it did not explode and was deactivated by KFOR patrol later.
Miladin Mladenovic (53) was brutally beaten by unidentified Albanians while he was on his way to visit his wounded son and his friend who were in the KFOR hospital in Lipljan. He was seriously injured around his neck and ear. Another Serb, Novica Savic (70) was beaten by Albanians in the field near his house in Novo Toplicane village. In this incident Novica Savic was seriously wounded by a knife. He was given a medical treatment in the military hospital. The KFOR soldiers reportedly told him that he was lucky because he was not taken to prison. According to their words, he used his gun in self defense. In fact, the weapons was not used by him but by one relative of his who wanted to protect him.
With great regret we must say that on all our requests KFOR was not effective enough to prevent burning of homes and the mentioned bomb attacks. We admit that the KFOR patrol deactivated an unexploded bomb and took the statements from the eye witnesses.
At 18.00 KFOR authorities convened a meeting with Serbs in Novo Naselje in Lipljan and asked from Serbs to give over their weapons until 9.00 on July 13. When the local Serbs asked explanation about these incidents in Lipljan the KFOR officer did not say anything but only kept insisting that the weapons should be given over to KFOR. He said: "I am not a politician but a soldier."
These tragic events disturbed the Serb population which is a majority population in Lipljan because Serbs understand these demonstrations as provocations and the burning of their homes and armed attacks by Albanians as an organized campaign of expulsion of the Serb majority population from Lipljan.
During the previous days we have demanded the protection from the local KFOR command in Lipljan. Our Bishop Rt. Rvrd. Artemije personally contacted Brigadier Bailey who in his turn personally and with a letter reassured the Bishop that the decisive steps would be undertaken to protect the Serb community in Lipljan. That was also conformed to us by a British KFOR colonel in Lipljan, sent by Brigadier Bailey. During the conversation Padre Brian Walton was also suggested to remain in contact with me as a local Lipljan priest. So far we have had only one contact during the distribution of the humanitarian aid for Rabovce village near Lipljan.
Many of Albanian attackers seem not to be the native inhabitants of Lipljan. So far we have already reported the names of several Albanians from Lipljan and the neighboring villages who were organizing and leading such acts of violence. These are: Agim Tasholi from Bandulic village, Agron Gashi from Lipljan and Rasim Azemi from Lipljan. Reporting to you about this intensified wave of violence and terror by Albanian groups against Lipljan Serbs we URGENTLY REQUEST the KFOR intervention to protect the innocent Serb population from Lipljan.
Remark: We also learned that during his stay in KFOR prison in Lipljan one local Serb heard from the Albanians who were also in prison that the Serb ZORAN STANISIC from Slovinje village, who is missing since June 22, 99, was actually killed by Albanians near Slovinje. Stanisic is reportedly buried in such a place that nobody can find him. But more about the place of his burial knows a certain Lulzim (Imri) Gashi from Slovinje, a former "Coca-Cola" factory worker who, according to the same sources, had looted and burned the houses of two Serbs (Ilija Pejica and N. Milkic in Slovinje).
Lipljan, St Peter's Day, 12.07.1999
Lipljan parish priest
Member of the Council for Human Rights
The attacks of armed Albanians in UCK uniforms as well as other uninformed Albanian individuals on Serb villages in the area of Novo Brdo was seriously intensified in the night 29/30 June 1999. The shooting could be heard from midnight 29/30 June for a half an hour more. The armed members of UCK entered then the Novo Brdo neighborhood "Barake" harassed and beat the remaining twenty Serbs. The elderly Krajina refugee from Vojnic Milos N. (70), who was lying ill and exhausted in his bed, was beaten and forced to stand up. His leg and ribs were broken. Other Serbs came later to rescue him and took him away. Verica Petrovic (38) an inhabitant from "Barake" neighborhood was also severely beaten. On that occasion the members of UCK killed Milo Vukas (45).
The Albanians forced 18 Serb refugees at 2.00 after midnight (30.7.99) from "Barake" neighborhood to the Serb village of Bostane. They left them in front of the village and told them to say to the Bostane Serbs that they had to leave the village in 24 hours' time or they would be slaughtered. As soon as these Serbs were forced out of their "Barake" neighborhood the village was looted by the Albanians.
The Serbian Orthodox priest in Bostane, Fr. Emil Ferkovic, accommodated the refugees in his parish home (a very small one, with two rooms where he himself lives with his wife and 3 children) as well as in the church. In the morning on June 30 the KFOR patrol came to the parish church and took the seriously wounded elder Milos N. and took him to the hospital in Gnjilane. We heard later that he was transferred from to Pristina and Belgrade. A dozen of these refugees went on foot the next day to Gnjilane, while 9 remaining refugees were visited by UNHCR on July 10, 99. The UNHCR team came again today (July 13) at 9.00 a.m. with a bus and took them, according to the words of UNHCR representatives, towards central Serbia or some of the neighboring foreign countries (they proposed them to go to Sweden or Canada). The UNHCR representatives also proposed to the local priest Fr. Emil to go somewhere away with his family too, which he refused, because leaving of his flock would mean their exodus soon.
The same day, on Wednesday, June 30, at 2.00 p.m. a group of armed Albanians in UCK uniforms began shooting east from Bostane village. As soon as the KFOR patrol appeared they stopped shooting. (The same UCK members were later seen in their plain clothes. They hid the weapons and appeared in other locations as ordinary Albanian civilians. Some of them were reportedly seen in the local hospital in Novo Brdo wearing the white coats and saying they were doctors and medical staff.)
All these days from June 30 until today (July 13) the attacks on Serb villages and hamlets around Novo Brdo have been continued. These are the villages: Labljane, Klobukar, Makres, Paralovo, Ljestar and Jasenovik. Especially critical area is the Filipovac neighborhood in Jasenovik village. The Albanians shoot there every night. In these villages Serb houses, stables, barns are being burned almost every day. More than half of the Serb population from this area have already been expelled or have left their homes under pressure. The remaining families live in despareate conditions and do not dare to go into their fields. The food supplies are seriously dwindling because the local Serbs do not feel safe to travel and get food. The shooting can be heard sometimes during the day (like in Bostane and Jasenovik villages). KFOR rarely patrols through these villages and when the patrols appear they usually do not stop in these villages so the villagers do not have an opportunity to ask for their help.
In the last several days the following local Serbs were beaten:
1. MIROSLAV IVANOVIC (50) was beaten on July 9. The KFOR patrol found him lying on the ground and took him to the hospital.
2. CVETA FILIC (58) from Plavica was beaten the same day.
During these days the following Serbs were killed:
1. MILE VUKAS (45) the Krajina refugee, mentally ill person who lived in "Kolonija" neighborhood in Novo Brdo. He was killed in the night 29/30 June and his body was thrown by UCK soldiers in a mine hole or was buried on an unknown location.
2. MILORADKA STOJKOVIC (36) a maiden from Labljane village (12 km from Bostane village) was a mentally retarded person. She was found among her sheep in a meadow near her village. She was raped and physically harassed. The next day, July 11, she died from the shock which she had suffered. On request of the local priest to KFOR to grant security for her funeral the KFOR patrol did not appear at all. The majority of the congregation did not dare to go to the cemetery. Only a priest, a driver and two men attended the funeral eventually.
3. STANKO STOJANOVIC (55) from Klobukar village. He was beaten by Albanians on July 10 and was hanged afterwards. The animal feces was put in his mouth. Nobody, even not KFOR did inform the local priest. The body was taken down from the tree and buried by some local Serbs from the neighboring village of Busince.
4. SAVA STOJKOVIC (60) from Labljane village. He was wounded during the Albanian attack on the village and soon after died . Out of fear he was buried not in the cemetery but on the lawn near his house.
5. ZIVKO N. (68) from Paralovo village was found hanged on July 10 in front of his house. KFOR only visited the place of the crime but did not take any meassures.
6. ALEKSANDAR JOVANOVIC (77) was killed in his village of Bostane, Culjkovice neighborhood, in the night of June 21 while he was keeping guard near his house.
7. BLAGONJA STANKOVIC (70) from Ljestar village, northwest from Novo Brdo was killed by an axe on one of these days.
8. JOVICA PETROVIC (12) a son of Vlastimir and Verica Petrovic, the workers who lived in "Barake" neighborhood of Novo Brdo. The child was killed those days in the nearby forest where he was walking.
This series of UCK and other Albanian attacks on the local Serbs in Novo Brdo villages appear to be an intentional actions of ethnic cleansing of this area which has so far been populated mostly by Serbs. We cannot understand the failure of KFOR in their attempts to assist the Serb community in Novo Brdo more effectively. On the other hand it is very difficult to understand the efforts of UNHCR activists to help leaving of forcefully expelled Serbs from their homes and take them far from Kosovo.
We appeal and ask the urgent help and protection of the remaining Serb people, their homes, property and religious sites.
The parish priest
of Novo Brdo
- The report was personally received, verified and presented to the Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren by
the Bishop of Zahumlje and Hercegovina Atanasije