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Compilation from Belgrade daily newspapers, prepared by editorial staff of the Voice of Kosovo and Metohia
April 19, 2000
(Borba daily, 19. 4. 2000)The Serbian church of the Holy Mother of God in the village of Zociste near Orahovac, in the southwest of U.N.-ruled Kosovo-Metohija, has been badly damaged by planted explosives, according to reports on Tuesday.
Local amateur radio operators report that Serbian monks who have recently visited Zociste with a BBC television crew have said the church has not been completely demolished and is still standing, supported by the remaining pillars.
According to ethnic Albanians in Zociste, the church has been dynamited on three separate occasions.
Nothing has been known about the fate of the church since the deployment of the international force (KFor) to Kosovo-Metohija on June 10, 1999, when the ethnic Albanian terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) drove all Serbs out of Zociste and all monks out of the nearby Monastery of St. Cosmas and Damian.
(Tanjug, 18. 4. 2000)Pristina - Automatic fire was opened at the house of Serb Ljubisa Stankovic in Gornja Brnjica village near Pristina on Sunday on April 16, amateur radio operators reported from crisis areas of Serbia's Kosovo and Metohija province on Tuesday.
Window franes were damaged and window panes broken in the attack, but no-one was injured as the occupants hurled themselves on the floor as soon as the shooting started, the sources said.
Gornja Brnjica is a multiethnic village with about 100 Serb and 150 ethnic Albanian houses
(Serbia info/Digest, 18. 4. 2000)April 18, 2000 - Gnjilane, April - In the Kosmet village of Cernica near Gnjilane, with 400 Albanian houses versus 100 Serbian ones, Albanian terrorists are trying in various ways to destabilize the situation, cause fear among the Serbs and to make them evade the area.
Thus, last night around 9.30 p.m., as radio amateurs report, terrorists threw "Molotov cocktail" on the stable of Milorad Simic, which burnt down completely. KFOR, as usually, appeared at the crime scene and expressed regrets for causing of the fire. As soon as they made the report, they left the village.
A Serb was arrested and kept in custody for almost 6 days in "Bondsteel" prison near Sojevo, just because he had defended his house with stones. Minor Albanians stoned all houses in this village every day.
Serbs have to put up with Albanian raging in this village, while the anger and strain are growing in the region, not only towards the Albanians, but towards the KFOR soldiers as well, who show gentleness regarding these events.
(B2 - 92, 18. 4. 2000)Pristina, Tuesday – KFOR troops evacuated staff of Pristina independent broadcaster Radio Kontakt last night after a rocket attack on the building housing the station's premises. Kontakt journalist Nikola Tomic said today that the rocket hit the balcony of an apartment in the building adjacent to the Kontakt premises. The station's editorial team has been placed under heavy protection by KFOR and the premises sealed. Beta agency reports that two people injured in the blast were admitted to hospital.
(Blic daily, 18. 4. 2000)Pristina - Two persons were injured in explosion that occurred due to bomb-shelling of the official flat of independent, multi-ethnic radio station "Kontakt" downtown Pristina. The incident occurred on Tuesday at 23.35. According to the first investigation results the missiles were fired from a terrace of Grand Hotel, UN Police confirmed to "Blic" daily.
The injured persons had been immediately transported to the hospital in Pristina. Strong KFOR forces evacuated the staff of this radio station that had business meeting at the time of attack. One British officer reported arrestment of a person that drove a vehicle in which several missiles were found.
"Attempt of closing our station by force is not solution since broadcast of filtrated information will not take Kosovo into the future", Zvonko Tarle owner of this station said.
(Serbia info/Digest, 18. 4. 2000)April 18, 2000 - Pristina, April 18 (Tanjug) - KFOR confirmed today that two persons were wounded when an apartment house was shot from a hand grenade, which was fired from the terrace of the "Grand" hotel in downtown Pristina last night.
"The apartment was damaged, and Serbs live next-door", lieutenant colonel of UN, Dimitrij Karporcev, said. According to his words, the wounded persons are Albanians, although he does not deny that the attack was aimed at Serbs.
One tenant of that building said for the France Press Agency that four Serbian journalists live next-door to the apartment that was hit in the mortar attack. The French reporter claims that he saw at least one Serbian journalist in KFOR`s car.
Besim Maljaj, a former commander of terrorist "KLA" who was in the security guard of the commander of Kosovo Protection Corps, Agim Ceku, was killed from the firearms, in downtown Pristina, around 2 p.m. yesterday.
(Borba daily, 19. 4. 2000)Local Serb officials in Strpce and representatives of the local Serb National Assembly have discussed with Commander of the UN peacekeeping force KFOR Gen. Klaus Reinhardt problems facing Serbs in the Sirinicka Zupa, radio enthusiasts in Kosovo and Metohija reported on Monday.
The local officials stressed in Sunday's talks that Serbs in the Strpce area, in the south of the Yugoslav republic of Serbia's province, lived in a ghetto and communicated with the rest of the world only through convoys that had often encountered difficulties.
They urged the release of nine Serbs who have been abducted and the return of all Serbs and other non-Albanians expelled from the province.
Gen. Reinhardt pledged that he would focus on the improvement of the security situation in the province, giving, however, vague answers to all other questions.
He said that it would take quite a long time for Serbs and other non-Albanians to return to Kosovo and Metohija, saying that 180,000 ethnic Albanians in western Europe should also return to the province.
He stressed that there was not enough accommodation for all and that there were problems with the employment of Serbs and other non-Albanians returning to the province.
Serbs in the Sirinicka Zupa are determined to remain in their ancestral homes and firm in their request that all displaced Serbs and others expelled from the province return to their towns and villages, houses and flats, the radio enthusiasts said.
(Blic daily, 18. 4. 2000)Nis - President of Presevo municipality and president of the Party for democratic action Riza Halimi said yesterday there was no doubt that a group of armed people was in the village of Dobrosin. As foreign media report this village is headquarters of "OVPBM" /Liberation army of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja/.
"There were some attempts initiated by western politicians about removal of these groups. According to media in Kosovo "OVPBM" accepted to act only politically in the future, but not to be disarmed as well", Halimi said
(Borba daily/Digest, 19. 4. 2000)Jovica Jovanovic of the justice sub-committee of the Yugoslav committee on cooperation with the UN mission said Monday that the UN civilian mission (UNMIK) had failed to respond to a request by Serb prisoners on hunger strike in Kosovska Mitrovica that their cases be finally settled in court.
A committee delegation met earlier in the day with representatives of Serbs held in custody in the Kosovska Mitrovica prison, and of UNMIK and the prison management.
The Serb prisoners take the view that they were arrested without any reason or evidence and that the Kosovska Mitrovica prison is an instrument of the unfriendly court made up of ethnic Albanians only that pursues the pro-Albanian policy in collusion with the UN peacekeeping force KFOR and UNMIK.
(Tanjug, 18. 4. 2000)Kosovska Mitrovica - Xhelal Ademi, an ethnic Albanian who was arrested in early March on the charge of causing a dangerous situation, is out on pretrial release because the district court in Kosovska Mitrovica, whose personnel is exclusively ethnic Albanian, believes that there are no longer reasons for holding him in custody, court president Kaplan Baruti told reporters on Tuesday.
Ademi, threw two hand grenades in the northern, Serb-populated section of Kosovska Mitrovica, in the north of Kosovo and Metohija, wounding 22 Serb civilians and 14 French troops participating in the U.N. peacekeeping force KFOR.
An international public prosecutor has appealed against the court's decision, demanding that Ademi be arrested again. The municipal court's panel of judges has however rejected his appeal.
Unlike Ademi, dozens of Serbs remain still in the town's prison although charged with smaller offences like gun possession or piercing tyres of U.N. civilian mission (UNMIK) vehicles. Among them is a Serb minor, a mentally retarted person who has been in prison for seven months contrary to all relevant regulations.
The court has held no hearing since its setting up.
Serbs in the Kosovska Mitrovica prison have been on hunger strike since last week because of Ademi's release.
Asked by reporters to comment on these developments, Baruti said he knew nothing about the hunger strike, saying that the prison manager did not cooperate with the court.
(Borba daily, 19. 4. 2000)U.N. civilian mission (UNMIK) administrator for Pristina Jay Carter has said that there is corruption in the ranks of local ethnic Albanian officials in Kosovo and Metohija's chief city.
In an interview with Pristina's Albanian-language Zeri weekly, Carter said that he was gathering evidence of corruption that he would submit to relevant authorities.
Carter said he feared that total chaos might break out in the city.
He said that people were involved in illegal activities, bribery, corruption, illicit drug trafficking, prostitution and threats aimed at ensuring positions of authority for their friends. He said that the same was happening in other towns in the Yugoslav republic of Serbia's southern province but on a far smaller scale, saying that the situation was most critical in Pristina.
He said that, if an end was not put to all illegal activities in the province, it would be faced with total anarchy the way Albania had been faced in the 1990's.
He said that such a state of affairs suited only criminals.
(Borba daily, 19. 4. 2000)A trial of 144 ethnic Albanians from Djakovica, Kosovo-Metohija, on charges of association for anti-state purposes and terrorism, opened in the southeast Serbian (Yugoslav) city of Nis on Tuesday.
This is the biggest group of ethnic Albanian terrorists and bandits arrested in late May 1999 for taking part, as members of the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), in attacks on Serbian police and Yugoslav army personnel.
The ethnic Albanians are accused of wounding five police officers in Djakovica in two attacks in early April of 1999, and of killing one police officer and two army troops and wounding two others on May 9, 1999.
The indictments were brought in against them in the district court in Leskovac, southeast Serbia (Yugoslavia), but the trial is being held in Nis for technical reasons, since the Leskovac court-house is too small for the purpose.
(B2 - 92, 18. 4. 2000)Nis, Tuesday – The Nis District Court today began hearing charges of conspiracy against the state and terrorism against 145 Kosovo Albanians. The defendants are accused of attacking Serbian police and Yugoslav Army troops in Djakovica in Kosovo on May 9 last year, allegedly murdering a policeman and two soldiers and wounding another two. The trial began in Nis today under heavy police security. The defendants were delivered to the court in three buses under a massive police escort. One of the twenty defence lawyers involved in the trial, Gradimir Nalic, told media today that this was the largest mass trial to be held in Yugoslavia since World War Two and that there was no evidence for the individual responsibility of any of the Albanian defendants.
(Danas/Digest, 18. 4. 2000)Moscow – Kosovo Serb leaders, Bishop Artemije and Momcilo Trajkovic, will meet Russian Patriarch and Duma representatives in Wednesday. Serbs will ask for concrete help in process of returning of 200.000 Serbs to Kosovo and Metohija. (*)
(Borba daily/Digest, 19. 4. 2000)The executive board of Serbia's Socialist Party (SPS) local board for Pec, Kosovo and Metohija, strongly condemned Monday the vandalistic act by ethnic Albanian terrorists and extremists who had torched or destroyed hundreds of houses in the nearby heroic Serb village of Bijelo Polje.
Ethnic Albanian terrorists want to erase every record of the Serbs' and the Serbian Orthodox Church's presence in Kosovo and Metohija throughout history, the statement issued by the board said.
The statement said that the mission run by Bernard Kouchner and the ethnic Albanian terrorist organisation calling itself Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) would never achieve its goals although these criminals and their leaders were doing all they could as their mandate was nearing its end to achieve the unachievable.
(Serbia Info/Digest, 18. 4. 2000)New York, April 17 (Tanjug) - Yugoslav Ambassador with the United Nations, Vladislav Jovanovic, sent a letter today to the president of the UN Security Council and Canadian Ambassador, Robert Fowler, and to the Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan. In his letter, Jovanovic says with bitterness that two days ago, on April 15th, Albanian terrorists burnt down and levelled to the ground 250 houses in Serbian village Bijelo Polje near Pec.
Serbs evaded that village in June last year, running away from the terror of the Albanian extremists and separatists, which sprang after the arrival of the International Mission of KFOR and UNMIK.
Jovanovic also said that the recent crime of Albanian terrorists was assisted by KFOR and UNMIK, who did nothing to stop it and that this act presents a severe violation of the Security Council Resolution 1244.
(Serbia Info, 18. 4. 2000)Geneva, April 18 - Yugoslav Ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva sent a letter to the U.N. Human Rights Commission Chairman briefing him on Serbs unlawfully imprisoned for 10 months in Kosovska Mitrovica and an ethnic Albanian terrorist outrage in the Serb village of Bijelo Polje. He asked the letter to be made an official document at the current Commission session.
The international force (KFOR) and the U.N. mission (UNMIK) have arrested 43 Serbs on the strength of groundless and arbitrary accusations made by ethnic Albanian terrorists of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), the letter said. The Serbs have been kept in prison in ethnically divided Kosovska Mitrovica for nearly ten months now, said the letter, addressed to Commission Chairman Sambo Ram Simkadi.
(Serbia Info/Digest, 18. 4. 2000)Belgrade - A Yugoslav official on Tuesday accused the international force KFor and the U.N. civilian mission (UNMIK) in Kosovo-Metohija of falling down on the job, as the situation there is still difficult, especially for non-Albanians.
Stanimir Vukicevic, who chairs the government committee liaising with the U.N. mission, was speaking to a Belgrade state radio reporter by phone from Pristina, Kosovo-Metohija.
According to Vukicevic, non-Albanians in that U.N.-administered Serbian (Yugoslav) province encounter restrictions in their freedom of movement, farm work, education, health protection and other areas.
UNMIK in its work puts a very broad interpretation on U.N. Resolution 1244 and so exceeds its mandate and authority, Vukicevic said.
Commenting on Tuesday's taking over of the helm of Kfor by the Eurocorps, he said he hoped the change would lead to the force's efficacy in the field, in the sense of a stricter respect of its obligations.
He underlined that, under Resolution 1244, the international military force in Kosovo-Metohija has the duty to provide protection, security, safety, freedom of movement for all people in that southern province of the Yugoslav republic of Serbia.
Vukicevic stressed that the chief duty of UNMIK and KFor is to repatriate displaced Serbs to Kosovo-Metohija and create conditions for them to stay there and for their normal life and work.
(Blic daily, 18. 4. 2000)Bonn - Chief of administration of UN Civil administration in Kosovo requested that NATO give detailed information about the use of depleted uranium /DU/ during intervention against Yugoslavia. According to him this information was requested for the purpose of population protection.
(B2 - 92, 18. 4. 2000)Pristina, Monday – Spanish General Juan Ortuno today took over command of international peacekeeping troops in Kosovo from German General Klaus Reinhardt. NATO European Commander Wesley Clark attended the handover ceremony in Pristina, congratulating Reinhardt on what he described as the significant mission accomplished by KFOR under his command.
Ortuno, speaking at the ceremony, said he saw his duties as clear and based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, adding that he would continue to secure and impose procedures in accordance with the Kumanovo military agreement on Kosovo.
(Glas javnosti/Digest, 18. 4. 2000)London – Daily newspaper Guardian reports that "moves towards closer European security and defence cooperation will get a boost when Eurocorps, the French-sponsored multinational military grouping, takes over the running of the international peacekeeping force in Kosovo". "The US remains sceptical about the EU's pledge to create an autonomous rapid reaction force of 60,000 soldiers, separate from Eurocorps, by 2003. Under this plan, the soldiers would be deployable within 60 days and be able to participate in peacekeeping operations for a year. Because of rotation needs, the plan would require up to 200,000 soldiers", Guardian adds. (*)
(Glas javnosti/Digest, 18. 4. 2000)Sofia (Tanjug) – Former Russian Prime Minister, Yevgeny Primakov, said that "any attempt toward creation of ‘Greater Albania’ could destabilize Europe" and added that each solution for Serb Kosovo province must be within Yugoslav borders. (*).
(Danas/Digest, 18. 4. 2000)London – Jack Straw, the home secretary, confirmed that more than 3,000 Kosovo Albanians who were given temporary protection in Britain at the height of last year's war have been told they must leave from the end of this month, British newspapers reported. (*)
(B2 - 92, 18. 4. 2000)Pristina, Tuesday – More than two hundred cases of tularaemia have been reported in Kosovo, the World Health Organisation reported today. A WHO regional advisor today warned Kosovo residents to boil water, avoid eating rabbit meat and not to touch dead rats. Tularaemia is a potentially lethal disease transmitted by rats, rabbits and ticks which causes high fever and inflammation of glands. Pristina media report that the epidemic has been partly caused because the United Nations civilian mission has been unable to effectively organise rubbish disposal systems and accumulated waste is attracting rats.
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