Information Service

November 20 , 2002
Evening edition

ERP KIM Info-Service

Albanian extremists continue with intimidation and pressures on the Serb community in Central Kosovo

Gracanica, 20 November 2002

Around 19.00 this evening unknown attackers threw an explosive device on the appartment of Ms. Jovanka Petkovic in YU-program building in Obilic town, 10 km west from Pristina, confirmed Zlatibor Stevic the member of the Human Rights Committee in Obilic. Although no one was injured in the attack the appartment of Mrs. Petkovic sustained substantial damage. At the time of explosion two of her small children were at home.

Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren strongly condemns this latest attack in Obilic and requests urgent investigation. The situation in Obilic municipality is deteriorating on the daily basis and it is the high time to take urgent measures in order to protect the remaining Serb population from total expulsion.

ERP KIM Info-Service


Continued Kosovo Albanian terror campaign against Serb population in Obilic is turning this formerly multiethnic municipality into an ethnically clean Albanian territory

Gracanica, 20 November 2002

Obilic Municipality lies north-west from Pristina and is known as the industrial zone of the Province. Security situation for the remaining Serb community in Obilic is grave. Out of more than 10.000 pre war Serb population in Obilic municipality only 3.600 remain now, mostly in neighboring villages. In the town of Obilic the number of Serbs has fallen to 580 now of which 15% are locally displaced persons from other municipalities. The majority population in the town are Kosovo Albanians, many of whom came to live in occupied Serb houses and appartments after the war from rural Drenica region. Roma population has been decimated after the war and only 15 Roma remain in the town, while the rest of 650 still live in a camp for displaced persons. Roma quarter has been burned to the ground by the KLA extremists immediately after the arrival of the British KFOR troops in the area.

This town has witnessed a particularly violent couple of years since the war, which is worth recounting to place the current socio-economic situation in a more informed context. According to the UNMIK registered NGO called the Committee for Minority Human Rights Protection, there have been a total of 17 Serbs killed since KFOR_s arrival. 7 of these persons were murdered in a single massacre in 1999. A further 72 Serbs have been wounded in violent confrontations since the war_s end. 600 Serb and Roma houses were burned, of which only 5 Serb (and no Roma) houses have been reconstructed by the Internatinal NGO's. In addition to such structural damage, the Serbian and non-Albanian population has suffered psychologically with the Albanian destruction of 120 Serb gravestones.

Neighboring Serb villages of Crkvena Vodica and Janina vodica remain gravely isolated as only those intrepid villagers with private cars can access the Oblic bus stop and train station. To place the current situation in its historic context, a brief description of inter-ethnic confrontation since KFOR_s arrival is necessary. Since 1999, there have been 6 Serbs killed and 27 wounded, 12 of which were children of only 14 or 15 years, innocent victims of a grenade attack upon the local school. There have additionally been 65 Roma houses and 5 Serb houses burned to the ground.

Serbs and other non-Albanians in this municipality still do not have freedom of movement and free access to health and education institutions. They thoroughly depend on inadequately equipped village clinics and schools in the neighboring Serbian villages. Ecconomic situation for the Serb population is dire because of strong ethnic discrimination and lack of security. Large majority of Serbs remain unemployed, especially former workers in the Kosovo Power Plant, in which after the war only Kosovo Albanians work.

After a period of mild tranquility the security situation in Obilic Municipality has deteriorated in the last three months and new incidents occurred:

-3 October, 2002 - Unknown attackers riddled with bullets the family house of Andjelkovic family in Janina Vodica at 02.00 in the morning

-5 October, 2002 - Attackers opened machine gun fire on the house of Novica Ilic in Obilic town at 17.00 hrs. Only by chance no one was injured in the house.

-12 October, 2002 - A train commuting between Lesak and Kosovo Polje was stoned by Albanian hooligans. One old Serbian woman sustained injuries.-13 October, 2002 - Norwegian battalion organized a football match for Albanian youths in a predominantly Serbian village of Plemetina irritating the local population which lives in isolation three years.

-17 October, 2002 - Local Kosovo Albanians stoned the house of Stanko Markovic (age 75) returning from the political rally.

-18 October, 2002 - Despite desperate pleas of parents to KFOR to continue providing escorts for the Serbian school children KFOR suspended protection and since then many children in the municipality have not attended their classes or were forced to go to Central Serbia to continue their education in safer conditions.

Information Service of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren
Kosovo and Metohija