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Daily press briefing of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija
Gracanica, August 23, 2000
Quotation from Reuters Agency:
"Violence against minorities has become so common that it is considered to be normal and is frequently met with a helpless shrugging of the shoulders on the part of UN police administrators and members of KFOR." - Reuters, August 22
This second attack on Serb children has caused widespread anxiety in the remaining Serb villages of central Kosovo as well as anger due to the fact that armed Albanians are roaming unimpeded through the Serb villages. The residents of Staro Gracko still remember with pain the murder of 14 of their neighbors last year in July while harvesting the fields not far from the village. On that time, too, the local residents stated that the attackers had come from the nearby Albanian village of Veliki Alas but to this date the international forces have failed to arrest those responsible for this massacre.
The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija has most strongly condemned this attack on children and asked responsible representatives of KFOR and UNMIK to secure, as quickly as possible, Serb schools, playgrounds and places where children and young people gather. From the office of the Norwegian government in Pristina, the SNC received today a memorandum from Ms. Helen Dahl Hansen that the Norwegian battalion in the region of Obilic has intensified its patrols and that the Norwegian commander is prepared to meet with representatives of the SNC in order to consider further measures for the protection of the population in the zone of responsibility of the Norwegian battalion (Kosovo Polje - Obilic).
Information from various sources regarding the discovered bodies in the area of Dragodan are very confusing as the international mission provided earlier information regarding the discovery of a mass grave near the Serb cemetery in which the bodies of more than a hundred Albanians were found who were killed during the war. On the other hand, at the Dragodan city cemetery there is an entire row of graves containing bodies of as yet unidentified persons, most probably Serbs, who were buried here after the war without clear markings and identification. According to the statement of Vesna Boskovic, the representative of the non-government Association of Relatives of Kidnapped and Missing persons at this location there are as many as 160 bodies of Serbs and Roma. There are serious indications that these may well be the bodies of some of the Serbs who are missing and kidnapped by Albanians after the war, even though it remains unclear whether the previously discovered mass grave next to the Albanians also contains the bodies of Serbs and Roma.
The SNC has urgently requested a more detailed report from UNMIK in order to explain the whole mystery of unidentified bodies in Dragodan. The representative of the SNC in the Kosovo Transitional Council task group for missing and kidnapped persons, Randjel Nojkic, has also requested from responsible representatives of the mission and the Hague tribunal that an expert identification of all the bodies at this location be conducted as soon as possible.
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