November 17 , 2002
Info-Service ERP KIM
ALBANIAN EXTREMISTS ATTACK TWO SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCHES IN KOSOVO
Church of St. Basil of Ostrog (Sv. Vasilije Ostroski) complely destroyed - Three powerful explosions in the Orthodox Cathedral of All Serbian Saints in Djurakovac
Early this morning Albanian extremists attacked two Serbian Orthodox churches in the Pec area and caused great material damage. The ERP KIM Info Service confirmed this information this morning with UNMIK officials. At approximately 24:00 hours in the Church of All Serbian Saints in Djurakovac, some 20 kilometers east of Pec, three powerful explosions took place which completely demolished the church interior. One of the newer churches, it was built in 1998 and under constant KFOR protection until two months ago. It is located in the very center of Djurakovac next to the main road from Pec to Mitrovica.
Not far from Djurakovac, in the village of Ljubovo (located between Istok and Banja) at approximately 6:00 hours this morning the Church of St. Basil of Ostrog the Miracle Worker, built in 1939 was blown up and completely destroyed. This church was also under the constant protection of KFOR since the summer of 1999, protection which has since been discontinued. The Albanians looted this church several times. The last incident occurred on June 24 of this year when the church was broken into and an old wooden crucifix in it set on fire.
Neither of these two locations is any longer inhabited by Orthodox Serbs, who were forced to leave in June 1999. In Djurakovac immediately after the war, in the summer of 1999, the ancient Church of St. Nicholas (Sv. Nikola) dating back to the 14th century and containing precious frescoes from the 16th century was completely destroyed. After this attack the Orthodox cemetery was desecrated and a 100 year-old oak tree in it was cut down.
The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren, and Kosovo and Metohija most strongly condemned these most recent barbarian attacks by Albanian extremists on Serbian churches and demands that KFOR immediately re-establish checkpoints near all endangered Orthodox churches. It is absolutely unacceptable to conduct experiments with sacred edifices built over many years through the laborious efforts of believers. The Diocese also demands an immediate investigation and that the person who committed this crime be brought to justice.
Attacks on two churches in a single night demonstrates once again that the intentions of the Albanian extremists remain to erase the last traces of the existence of the Serb people, their culture and history in this region. It represents a serious challenge to UNMIK and KFOR, especially after last week's statement by Michael Steiner in Berlin that security in Kosovo and Metohija has improved significantly and that the UNMIK mission has achieved a great success. The recent attack on Serb pensioners in Pec, frequent desecrations of cemeteries, and these most recent attacks on churches speak eloquently in the language of fact that not even minimal security exists for Serbs in this area and that security cannot be improved by propaganda but only by decisive action against extremists and their political mentors. It is tragic that so far not one perpetrator in the destruction and desecration of more than 100 Orthodox churches since the war in Kosovo and Metohija has been found nor brought to trial. No one has been held accountable even though these crimes were committed in the presence of more than 30,000 KFOR troops before the eyes of the entire world.
Furthermore, it is a disheartening fact that not one Serbian church destroyed since 1999 has yet been restored. After persistent efforts toward the reconstruction of Zociste Monastery near Orahovac (founded in the 14th century), Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren in a recent conversation with German general Dieter Skodowsky received the concrete response that the Albanians do not want the monastery in Zociste to be restored and that KFOR is unable to protect restored churches which would again find themselves under attack by the extremists. This response clearly demonstrates the acceptance of the rule of terror and ethnic violence as accomplished facts which the international community apparently does not intend to change.
November 17, 2002 12:51
BISHOP ARTEMIJE: KFOR RESPONSIBLE FOR CHURCH ATTACKS
Attacks consequence of lack of protection for Serbian churches which KFOR stopped guarding
Gracanica - Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren assessed that responsibility for the most recent, as well as earlier attacks on edifices of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo lies with the international missions in the Province, first and foremost, with KFOR. Bishop Artemije stated that these attacks are a consequence of the lack of protection for Serbian churches, which KFOR has stopped guarding, claiming that an enviable level of security has been achieved in Kosovo. "We predicted this would happen when KFOR began to withdraw check-points from our churches. The latest destruction of churches demonstrates the extent to which they do not know the enemy," said Bishop Artemije.
Info-Service ERP KIM
Editorial by Fr. Sava Janjic, the editor of the Info Service ERP KIM
FR. SAVA: ALBANIAN EXTREMISTS CONTINUE THEIR CAMPAIGN OF DESTRUCTION OF SERB CHRISTIAN HERITAGE IN KOSOVO
Action against Albanian extremism is needed more urgently than ever
Gracanica, November 17, 2002 16.00
Today's attacks in which one of our churches was completely destroyed and the other heavily damaged is a clear evidence that Albanian extremists in Kosovo have not given up their intention to destroy the last traces of Serb Christian culture in Kosovo Province and create a second ethnic-clean Albanian state in the Balkans. In the last three years professionally trained extremist miner-groups have destroyed more than 100 Serbian churches despite the presence of NATO and UN Mission and their duty according to the UN Resolution 1244 to prevent violence after the conflict in 1999. Perpetrators have never been arrested because terrorists still enjoy support of the leading Albanian political circles and the UN sponsored Kosovo Protection Corps TMK. UNMIK has never seriously tried to deal with Albanian extremism because that would be a risk for their own personal. In fact UNMIK's primary duty seems to be just to make things look good and pull out from Kosovo as soon as possible leaving the unprotected population and monuments in the hands of Albanian extremists.
While Kosovo Albanian political leaders pay the lip service to the Western media their terror groups continue rampaging throughout the Province destroying the last remaining centuries old Christian monuments. No doubt, some Kosovo Albanian official will shed tears over the ruins of our churches and "condemn the violence" in front of cameras, but will hardly make any single concrete step to help identifying those who committed the attacks. Why? Simply because he would have to denounce his former war-time comrades who are honored as national heroes in Kosovo today and finance political parties by their illegal drug and prostitution rings. This is a theatre play which we have seen many times so far and which has no real significance for an evenhanded and experienced observer. Only a month ago, 50 Serb pensioners were almost killed in the streets of Pec only because they were not Albanians and did not profess Islamic religion. No Kosovo leader ever visited those poor pensioners to relieve their suffering, while on the other hand they did not lose any opportunity to trumpet arround that Kosovo is ripe for independence and secession from Yugoslavia. Is this society which Mr. Steiner (Chief of UNMIK) wants to bring into Europe? With Kosovo Albanian gangs taking over the drug and prostitution markets in Western Europe, are the Kosovo's nation builders aware that they are creating a European monster-state which would destabilize the entire region and bring suffering to many people not only in the Balkans but also in the Western Europe?
Quite contrary to the loud UNMIK propaganda that situation is improving, Kosovo Serbs whiteness every day that the UN governed Province is becoming more and more ethnically clean territory tailored only for ethnic Albanians. Creation of a new terror-state in which there would soon be no sign of cross and church and which would be ruled by wild clans and drug-barons, would be the most serious blow to the efforts of the international community to establish multiethnic and multireligious society in the SE Europe. Wouldn't it be ironical that those who came to preserve multiethnic society become at the end sponsors of ethnic cleansing?
What are the UNMIK chiefs and Albanian leaders going to say to Mr. Kofi Anan in a few days. Undoubtedly they would boast of their results and say that Kosovo's democracy is boosting every day. They would try to minimize the recent incidents as exceptions and would employ their assessments, graphs and mathematics to show that Serbs are not aware that they actually really live better. We can only hope that Mr. Anan will not come to Pristina to join the chorus of propaganda, but to deliver a concrete message that the UN authority cannot be a cover for a society based on ethnic and religious discrimination.
After many desperate appeals of the Serbian Orthodox Church that an urgent action is needed against the Kosovo Albanian terrorist leaders, UNMIK officials have remained deaf and have even intensified their efforts to proclaim that Kosovo is "a success story", as Mr. Steiner said quite shamelessly in Berlin several days ago. The only success story in Kosovo are in fact the careers and salaries of UNMIK personnel who receive dozens of thousands of Euros before they rush to another crisis area. Today's acts of vandalism are the best proofs which deny these preposterous lies and request action against Albanian extremism more urgently than ever before. This is the only way to bring relief to the suffering non-Albanian population and save the face of the Mission which has already lost every moral credibility in the eyes of the suffering people in Kosovo as well as among many evenhanded international observers.
Info Service ERP KIM
DR. RADA TRAJKOVIC: HOW LONG WILL KFOR TOLERATE ALBANIAN EXTREMISM AND TERRORISM IN KOSOVO?
All this confirmcs disjunct between words and deeds - words reflecting improvement of security and deeds reflecting destruction of our culture
Gracanica, November 17, 2002
The head of the Return (Povratak) Coalition caucus in the Kosovo parliament, Rada Trajkovic, in a statement for Info Service ERP KIM said that the explosions are a consequence of the fact that KFOR tolerates the activities by Albanian extremism and terrorism in the Province. "All this confirms that what we have is a disjunct between words and deeds, words reflecting a significant improvement in the security situation and deeds reflecting the destruction of our churches and the further disappearance of our culture and history from this region. Let facts attest to the success of the international community and the reality in this region which is, unfortunately, the continued activity of Albanian extremists and terrorists with a very strong accent on Islamic fundamentalism," said Rada Trajkovic.
Serb Orthodox churches destroyed in Kosovo
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia - Two Serb Orthodox churches were destroyed in western Kosovo in separate explosions, a U.N. spokesman said Sunday.
The first church, in the village of Djurakovac, 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Pristina, was damaged inside when targeted with explosives late Saturday, U.N. spokesman Andrea Angeli said.
The second church, in the village of Ljubovo in the same area, was almost completely destroyed in an explosion early Sunday, he said.
No one was injured in the explosions, Angeli said. An investigation was under way.
Kosovo has been run by the United Nations (news - web sites) and NATO (news - web sites) since 1999, when the alliance bombed Serb troops to stop former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic (news - web sites)'s crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists.
Some 200,000 Serbs and other minorities since have left the province in fear of revenge attacks by majority ethnic Albanians avenging the crackdown by Serb forces, which killed thousands of ethnic Albanians.
Although ethnically motivated incidents since have decreased, tensions between the rival ethnic groups remain high.
UNMIK-Albanian party in a theatre play in Djurakovac
Without inviting any representative of the Serbian Orthodox Church or Kosovo Serb community Michael Steiner and Albanian leaders visit the ruins of Serbian churches and again fail to denounce Albanian terrorism
As it was expected Michael Steiner, Chief of UNMIK, rushed immediately to the sites of destroyed Serbian Orthodox churches with Kosovo Albanian Prime Minister Rexhepi and the mayor of Istok and condemned the acts of today's vandalism in front of cameras. It would be very unfair to criticize such an act if only it were done in sincerity. Regrettably, the entire visit appeared more like a theatre play performed in an attempt to save the face of UNMIK and Albanian leadership who bear direct responsibility for three years of Kosovo's post-war horror:
1. No representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church or Serbian community were invited at all although Serbian church and Serbian people lost two churches in this terrorist attack. Why Mr. Steiner did not call any Serb to join his entourage? Simply because Serb representatives would openly say in front of cameras that these two churches as well as other 110 were destroyed by Albanian terrorists after the war and in the presence of NATO and UN Mission. It would be totally embarassing for KFOR and UNMIK to find a proper answer why protection of many isolated Serbian Orhtodox churches has been recently lifted (despite serious warnings of the Church) and why they were left at the mercy of Albanian extremists. Bishop Artemije has already made this question in his today's statement to the press and requested urgent action against Albanian terrorists and not new empty promises. Absence of Serb representatives in this visit to Djurakovac is without any excuse and it is felt as humiliation and painful manipulation with the feelings of Orthodox Christians. While many Orthodox Serbs wait in their isolated enclaves to hear the news about their destroyed churches no one came to the idea to take at least one priest to see what really happened. No need to say that in order to travel Serbs must ask for an escort sometimes two days in advance. As usual Serbs were not needed for this theatre play as if only UNMIK and Albanians live in Kosovo.
Info Service ERP KIM
ALBANIANS OPEN FIRE ON SERB FAMILY NEAR VITINA
Serbs in Kosovsko Pomoravlje remain exposed to everyday attacks and provocations by armed Kosovo Albanians
Yesterday at approximately 14:00 hours Albanian extremists opened fire on a Serb family working in the fields in the district of the village of Vrbovac, not far from Kosovska Vitina. Fortunately, no one was injured during this attack, which has caused unrest among the Serb population in the region. After recent incidents in nearby Klokot and Vitina itself, this latest attack demonstrates that Albanian extremists remain active and that Serbs lack even minimal security for normal work and living.
The Diocese of Raska and Prizren condemns this attack and demands that U.S. KFOR troops finally initiate a decisive campaign against Albanian extremists who have been conducting a free and unobstructed reign of terror in this region during the past three years despite the presence of thousands of U.S. troops.
Service of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren