Ethnic Albanians Continue Attacks On the Remaining Serb Populatin in UN Administered Kosovo Region
In the last few days the Serb population of Kosovo and Metohija have been exposed to the new wave of violence by Albanian extremists which continue thier campaign of intimidation and persecution of the remaining Kosovo Serbs. After the winter period of relative calm the new victims of terrorist attacks have marked the beginning of the infamous "spring season" which is known as a period of increased activity of ethnic Albanian extremists in Kosovo and Macedonia.
UNMIK chief Michael Steiner has recently assessed that "safety of Serbs was the biggest problem", and that creation of safe environment would be one of the testing issues for international community in evaluating progress in Kosovo. The situation on the ground confirms the concerns of the new Special Representative of the UN in Kosovo.
THE LATEST NEWS:
A SERB WOMAN IN KOSOVO RIDDLED WITH BULLETS
Lipljan, February 22, 2002
Ljubica Kovacevic, 57, a Serb woman from Lipljan was killed on Friday (Feb 21) in Lipljan (15. km south of Pristina) when an unindentified attacker opened fire by a machine gun and riddled her with 30 bullets. This information was confirmed to Beta News Agency by UNMIK spokesman Andrea Angeli. The attack occured at 19.00. After the attack Mrs. Kovacevic was transfered to hospital where her death was immediately confirmed.
This news was also confirmed for B92 Radio by the Secretary of the Lipljan Municipality Mr. Milorad Dekic who said that the murder occured in one of the back streets in the center of Lipljan. "The murderer was hidden behind the heap of the building material and when Mrs. Kovacevic approached with her husband the attacker opened the fire. She was killed at the spot and her husband survived without any injuries", Dekic said. He also reported that the Serbs of Lipljan are alarmed are shocked this murder but nevertheless he called the present situation stable. "The people are very alarmed. No incidents have happened after the murder and our people gathered spontainously. It is also interested that many Albanians gathered after the murder. We could see more of their cars driving along the streets only a few minutes after the armed attack. They seemed to be triumphant. We have scheduled a protest meeting on Sunday when we are going to issue an official protest to the international bodies and the Sebian state authorities", Dekic said.
He also said that the Serbs had asked a check point to be installed near the location where the attack occured but that was done only the next morning after the murder. "We had asked before from KFOR to place a vehicle there for the sake of better security because this was the area frequented by Serbs. We have pointed out this to all internatinal representatives who talked to us but everyone remained deaf to our repeated requests. It seems that something like this had to happen that they finally realize what is going on. Today we have seen the military vehicle, but we still do not know how long it will be there", said Dekic.
UNMIK Spokesperson Andrea Angeli has confirmed that the international police have found the weapons near the place of attack. Investigation is still ongoing.
(Source: Radio B92, Local Serb sources in Lipljan)
Kosovska Vitina, February 20, 2002
A fourteen year old Serb girl Sonja Tajic was wounded in a hand grenade attack in the courtyard of her house in the southeastern Kosovo town of Vitina. The attackers have not been yet indentified and the UNMIK police investigation is ongoing. The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija strongly condemned this bomb attack naming it "a wild attack of ethnic Albanian extremists against the remaining Serbs in Vitina". In Vitina town only a small part of the pre-war Serb population remains after a series of terrorist attacks perpertrated by Kosovo Albanian extremists against Serb civilians. Almost three years after the end of the war the situation of Vitina Serbs remains precarious. The Serbs live in constant fear of extremists who still seem to operate almost unhindered by US KFOR and UNMIK police.
(Source: Radio B92, Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija SNC KIM)
Kursumlija, February 22, 2002
Due to frequent incidents along the administrative boundary of this southwestern Serbian municipality with Kosovo province, the local Serb inhabitants have organized their village guards, reports Ljiljana Danilovic (Radio B92) from Kursumlija. The local inhabitants claim that the presence of the police and army units is inadequate because of recurrent attacks of armed Kosovo Albanian gangs. Tha is why some Serb villagers from this area plan to leave their villages because of security reasons. The mayor of Kursumlija Miodrag Drobnjak says that the last incidents, several days ago, in which Yugoslav army patrol was attacked, was not the only incident which happened in the last ten days. "These are no longer individual attacks and they happen in continuity. This makes the local population very alarmed", Mr. Drobnjak said. Beside four Serb villages which are located close to the boundary and have been abandoned due to armed provocations in the last two years, the villagers in the remaining villages of this area began leaving their homes. This information was confirmed by the Mr. Drobnjak who says that the Government of Serbia has been informed about this problem. "Our people are leaving the villages in the boundary area which is a serious problem because we do not know how to find alternative accomodation for them in the town. After the last few incidents we are very concerned and have already requested the responsible state authorities to make a strategy to do all we can to prevent Kursumlija become a new Bujanovac (another south Serbian town which is almost depopulated from Serbs)", Mr. Drobnjak said.
(Source: Radio B92, LSS)