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Belgrade Media Monitoring

Compilation from Belgrade daily newspapers, prepared by editorial staff of the Voice of Kosovo and Metohia

April 10, 2000

  • Gnjilane Yesterday: Dragoljub Stojanovic Murdered at His Doorstep
  • Serb and Albanians’ Conflict in ‘Trust Zone’, Kosovska Mitrovica: Six Serbs, One KFOR Soldier Injured
  • Six Serbs Injured
  • Further Clashes in Kosovska Mitrovica
  • After Yesterday Albanian Provocation on Ibar Bridge: Preparations for New Terrorist Activities
  • Serbs Visited Graveyard in Southern Mitrovica, but There is no Trust Zone yet
  • Serbs from Gnjilane Face Extermination
  • Serb Convoy on its Way to Strpce – Serb Surrendered Himself to Stop Self-will of US General
  • Serbs from Strpce Turned down Ultimatum
  • Shameless Standards by US KFOR
  • International Session "Albanians and Neighbours" Ended: Talks are not Treason
  • Kosovo Albanian Refugees Refuse to Leave Australia
  • Germany: Kosovo Refugees Threatened by Deportations
  • US KFOR Troops Carry out Ethnic Cleansing of Serbs

    (Politika daily, 10. 4. 2000)

    Gnjilane, April 9th(Tanjug)

    Dragoljub Stojanovic, a Serb, has been murdered at 10 a.m. at his own house doorstep in Ivo Lola Ribar St., near the Bus Station in Gnjilane.

    As radio-amateurs reported, Albanian terrorists invited Jovanovic to come out to his gate "in order to ask him something", but when he did come closer, they fired several lethal shots at him and then escaped.

    The true motives have not been found out yet, but it is believed it was a vengeance, because Jovanovic refused to sell his house and estate for a minimal price to some Albanian buyer, radio-amateurs reported. (*)


    (Blic daily, 10. 4. 2000)

    Kosovska Mitrovica - In yesterday conflicts between the Serbs and Albanians, six Serbs and one French KFOR soldier were injured. Conflict began when several hundreds of Albanians from the southern part of Kosovska Mitrovica tried to enter the northern Serb part of the city via the main City Bridge. Injured young Serbs were transported to the hospital in Mitrovica Doctors say their injuries are not serious. French soldier hurt in the head by a stone thrown by an Albanian was transported to the hospital in the southern part of Mitrovica.

    Conflict began after 14.15 when hundreds of Albanians after a football match in southern Mitrovica started going towards the Serb part of the city. Several hundreds of Serbs came to stop the Albanians and in a conflict that began. French KFOR soldiers fired 20 cartridges of tear gas and several shock bombs. After 10 minutes new troops came as a support to French soldiers and the groups in conflict were separated.

    Although forced to leave the bridge, the Serbs have not scattered immediately. That is why KFOR used tear gas and shock bombs again. In that action six Serbs were injured. The conflict lasted about 10 minutes. After that KFOR closed all approaching roads to the bridge by armoured personnel carriers.

    "One cannot understand that such conflict occurs in the `Zone of confidence`. KFOR should not have been surprised in view of all so far attempts of Albanians to enter northern Mitrovica by force", Oliver Ivanovic said.

    "I regret the conflict that occurred today between two ethnic communities in the `Zone of confidence`. In the future, the French soldiers will act so to prevent any incident and violent entrance of the Albanians the northern part of the city", French general and commander of the North sector said.


    (Serbia info, 10. 4. 2000)

    April 09, 2000 - Kosovska Mitrovica, April 9 (Tanjug) - Six Serbs were injured today at around 2 p.m. when French KFOR troops fired tear gas and stun grenades on Serbs and ethnic Albanians who gathered on the main bridge in divided Kosovska Mitrovica.

    The injured Serbs were taken to the local hospital where they received medical treatment.

    The incident flared up at around 2 p.m. on the main bridge dividing the city along ethnic lines, when a thousand or so ethnic Albanians tried to force their way into the northern, predominantly Serb-populated part of the city.

    Approximately the same number of Serbs promptly gathered on the spot to defend their territory. In an effort to disperse the mob, whose clash lasted for some twenty minutes, French KFOR troops used weapons, firing some fifty tear-gas and stun grenades.

    One French soldier was also injured in the clash.


    (B2 - 92, 10. 4. 2000)

    Kosovo, Sunday – Six Serbs were injured in new clashes between French KFOR forces and local Serbs and Albanians in Kosovska Mitrovica today. The incident occurred when three Albanians working for the UN attempted to cross over to the northern Serb held part of the town. The local Serbs and Albanians threw stones and KFOR troops responded with tear gas. A KFOR official told the press that the incident had taken place because KFOR soldiers did not know that the people they had allowed into the northern part were Albanians but that the situation was now under control.


    (Politika daily, 10. 4. 2000)

    Kosovska Mitrovica, April 9th (Tanjug)

    Decision of General Pierre de Saqui de Sanne, Head of KFOR "North" brigade, to personally promote the Trust Zone last Tuesday, followed by his escorting the Serbian journalists from UNMIK building and across the bridge to the Serbian part of the town, has not been approved of by the Albanians.

    General de Saqui’s decision to extend the range of the Northern Trust Zone no more than 100 m in depth, until at least few Serbs returned to the southern part has been the next move that Albanians considered to be a biased and protective attitude to Serbs.

    Obviously dissatisfied with Kouchner and Reinhardt not coming to Mitrovica to strengthen the pressure against Serbs as they used to, the Albanian journalists have been asking for an explanation for such decisions, at the press conferences held throughout the whole week.

    Lacking sound arguments for the attacks against Serbs in Mitrovica, they were constantly raising two questions: the supposed mass graves and the return of their fellowmen to northern Mitrovica, each time by accusing the international forces of doing nothing about "these crucial issues".

    OSCE spokesman, Hans Christian Klising, had to repeat twice that no evidence whatsoever existed about the supposed mass graves.

    "Many a rumour exists, but very few proofs", replied Klising. The Albanian journalists estimated it to be "a scandalous statement".

    Klising’s emphasising "Kosovo Presents Province" has roused the additional dissatisfaction.

    The announcements of further terrorist actions already exist. Therefore, KFOR had to search Albanian houses in Bosnjacka mahala- northern part of Mitrovica- from which the Albanians executed serious attacks on French soldiers in February. Large quantities of weapons and uniforms have been found in an Albanian house in Bosnjacka mahala, which inevitably leads to a conclusion: there are preparing for new "actions".

    The announced visit of Koucner to Mitrovica on April 12th presents additional incentive and encouragement for such undertakings.

    After a seven-day calm, today’s Albanian provocation on the main bridge appears to be a starting one in the new series. (*)


    (Serbia info, 10. 4. 2000)

    April 09, 2000 - Kosovska Mitrovica, April 9 (Tanjug) - Around one hundred Serbs from the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica visited this morning the Orthodox graveyard in the southern, Albanian part of the divided town. This visit was a part of an obviously unsuccessful KFOR attempt to establish the confidence zone in Kosovska Mitrovica.

    Though the Serbs were escorted by the French troops, a group of ethnic Albanians threw stones at them in front of the graveyard. No one was injured because the French soldiers dispersed the gathered ethnic Albanians who insulted the Serbs and shouted "UCK".

    During last year, ethnic Albanian extremists have destroyed some 200 tombstones on this Orthodox graveyard.


    (Serbia info, 10. 4. 2000)

    April 09, 2000 - Gnjilane, April 9 (Tanjug) - The security situation and the position of the Serbs in Gnjilane and the surrounding multiethnic villages have become alarming due to the increased wave of terror and violence by the ethnic Albanian extremists.

    The escalation of violence has become prominent over the last month and a half. The killing of Dr Josif Vasic and the wounding of Dr Grozdanovic in Gnjilane have caused fears among the Serbs. UNMIK and KFOR representatives have pointed to the growing danger of ethnic Albanian extremists and advised the Serbs and Romanies to stay in their houses.

    Since the end of February and during March, many Serbs from Gnjilane have been killed in armed and physical attacks, while dozens of them have suffered serious injuries with lasting consequences. KFOR and UNMIK know the names of these sufferers.

    There is no Serb house in the town that was not attacked by ethnic Albanian criminals and robbers, which was not the case a month or two ago. The remaining Serbs stay up night and day in order to protect their houses from the robbers.


    (B2 - 92, 10. 4. 2000)

    Kosovo, Sunday – Zoran Janicevic, who succeeded in escaping from KFOR last Tuesday has voluntarily turned himself in to the international forces in the village of Sevce in the borough of Strpce, KFOR announced in Pristina today. Janicevic was arrested last Tuesday during clashes between local Serbs and KFOR troops. KFOR stated that they have resumed activities in Strpce after the Eastern Sector Commander Ricardo Sanchez held intensive talks with local Serb representatives in an attempt to stabilise the situation in the area. According to Serb sources, Sanchez laid down the return of Janicevic as a condition for KFOR further involvement in the area. The convoy of Serbian refugees, who were refused a KFOR escort two days ago on their return to Strpce, has consequently been given an escort and is now on their way back to their homes.


    (Serbia info, 10. 4. 2000)

    April 09, 2000 - Strpce, April 9 (Glas javnosti) - Serbs from Strpce turned down on Saturday an ultimatum from US General Ricardo Sanchez for the unconditional surrender of Serb Zoran Janicevic in exchange for the escort and safe conduct of the Serb convoy to Strpce.

    At the yesterday's meeting of the Strpce Crisis Command, attended by the representatives of the Serbian National Assembly of the town, it was stressed that the Serbs were willing to co-operate if the US KFOR Command gives equal treatment to both Serbs and ethnic Albanians, otherwise all contact with KFOR will be at an end.

    Janicevic was arrested on Tuesday in the course of a brutal search of Serb homes in the village of Sevce, on allegation of arms possession.

    He was freed in subsequent incidents that broke out between local unarmed Serbs and US KFOR troops and in which 20 villagers and 11 Americans were injured.

    The KFOR Command in Sector east then stopped relief aid deliveries to Serbs in the area and denied escort to their twice-weekly convoys, which are their only link to the rest of Serbia and Yugoslavia. About 200 Serbs returning in a regular humanitarian convoy to Strpce, south Kosovo-Metohia, from other parts of Serbia, could not reach their homes on Friday because the international KFOR force refused to give them escort.

    The convoy was carrying women, children and several ill people returning from treatment outside that UN-administered Serbian province. There was even the body of a deceased villager in the convoy.

    The convoy, comprising two buses three lorries and seven passenger cars, had been escorted out by the British military police.

    On their return, they were stopped by strong US KFOR forces outside the ethnic Albanian village of Radivojce, searched and then turned back to Kosovo-Metohia's boundary with the rest of Serbia. After again being stopped, this time at the ethnic Albanian village of Dobrcane, the passengers were taken to the boundary and returned to the south Serbian city of Vranje 24 hours after they had left it.

    The passengers complain with indignation that KFOR has not only stopped them reaching their homes, but has actually expelled them from Kosovo-Metohia.

    Problems began with an incident in the village of Sevce in the Strpce area on Tuesday, when the local population clashed with US KFOR troops attempting to arrest a Serb for alleged arms possession. Following the clash and the abortive arrest, the KFOR Command in Sector east has denied armed escort to regular twice-weekly Serb convoys and stopped relief aid deliveries to the Strpce area.

    KFOR has given the Serbs an ultimatum to surrender the suspect, Zoran Janicevic, whom local women practically snatched from US hands during the clashes.

    The Strpce Crisis Command turned down the ultimatum on Saturday.


    (Serbia info, 10. 4. 2000)

    April 09, 2000 - Gnjilane/Cernica, April 9 (Tanjug) - The ethnic Albanians who have recently fired three missiles from a rocket launcher at the Serbs playing football in the village of Cernica near Gnjilane, have been released from detention the same day they were taken in, stated the American KFOR officer Bens, in charge of security in that village. Two persons suffered severe injuries, while several others were slightly hurt in the attack.

    "They said they just wanted to intimidate the Serbs and were only joking. After they had been released, they apologised to the wounded Serbs", he said.

    An unexploded missile, which had buried itself in the ground, was made in the US

    The ethnic Albanians' confession was not enough to keep them in detention, but a Serb Stanimir Vasic had been arrested several days ago and has been kept in detention for three days only because the parents of the Albanian children claimed that "he wanted to kill them", when he ran after the children who were throwing stones at his house.


    (Danas, 10. 4. 2000)

    Budapest – The international meeting introducing "Albanians and Neighbours" as a topic, ended on Saturday afternoon in Budapest.

    One of the Serb leaders from Kosovo, Momcilo Trajkovic, once more publicly invited president of (DSK) Ibrahim Rugova to joint talks, at the press conference held after the meeting. Rugova, who was seated next to Trajkovic, did not react at the invitation. When questioned if the state media in Serbia and the regime authorities in Belgrade attack him for sitting next to Rugova, Trajkovic replied "he was already proclaimed to be a traitor of Serbs". "If president Milosevic could talk to Rugova several times, why shouldn’t I be entitled to the same". He added his objective was to find "democratic solution to the grave Kosovo crisis".

    However, Rugova repeated:

    "Independent Kosovo, with a guarantee for other national communities, presents the best solution". (Beta) (*)


    (B2 - 92, 10. 4. 2000)

    Australia, Sunday – Approximately one hundred Kosovo Albanian refugees began a hunger strike in Sidney today and have refused to leave the Australian capital and return to Kosovo. The Australian Government started rounding up Kosovo Albanian refugees from camps throughout Australia several days ago with the aim of returning them to their homeland. It is estimated that around four thousand Kosovo Albanians fled to Australia during the war in Kosovo last year. An official from the Australian Ministry for Immigration told the press that those Kosovo Albanians who refused to return to Kosovo would be considered as illegal immigrants and placed under temporary arrest beginning at midnight today.


    (Danas, 10. 4. 2000)

    Bonn – Berlin authorities has decided to strengthen the pressure against 150,000 Kosovo Albanians, who were enjoying the status of refugees, media reported today.

    According to deputy of German Ministry of Interior, Klaus Henning Sapper, the German Government would even threat those Albanians, who refuse to return voluntarily to their home, with deportations.

    "Only 261 people has been deported, i.e. 1 per cent of the total number" stated Sapper, while announcing that the German Government would begin applying "soft pressures", in the form of various "administrative " and other measures, intended to fasten the return process of the mentioned refugees. He did not present the plan in full detail, but stressed:

    "Those who refuse voluntarily expatriation shall be exposed to a deportation risk".

    As Councillor Gerhard Schroeder apprehended the issue, there is no reason whatsoever for the Kosovo Albanians not to return to Kosovo, since the situation has improved a lot for them, after the NATO intervention. (*)


    (Serbia info, 10. 4. 2000)

    April 09, 2000 - Pristina, April 9 (Politika) - Yugoslavia's committee for co-operation with the UN mission (UNMIK) to Kosovo-Metohia on Saturday condemned in the strongest terms the international KFOR force's treatment of Serbs, who were heading from Vranje to Strpce with the regular humanitarian convoy, stated the Subcommittee for information of the Yugoslav committee for co-operation with UNMIK.

    The convoy was carrying several children, women, sick persons, and even a body of a deceased person.

    Instead of providing security of movement for the convoy, the US KFOR contingent has transgressed all the mandates, violated the principles of the mission and took part in ethnic cleansing by expelling the Serbs from Strpce and the surrounding area, with previous mistreat of the citizens in convoy that lasted for 30 hours.

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