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Kosova Daily Report #1367, 98-03-10

Kosovo Information Center: Kosova Daily Report Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Kosova Information Center <http://www.kosova.com/>

Kosova Information Center
KOSOVA DAILY REPORT #1367
Prishtina, 10 March 1998

First Edition: 15:00hrs
Second Edition: 20:00 hrs

CONTENTS

  • [01] At Least 80 Albanians Killed in a Week by Attacking Serb Forces
  • [02] Albanian Doctors Denied Entrance to Skenderaj
  • [03] Families of Killed Albanians Prevented from Participating in Funeral Processions
  • [04] Llausha Village Remains Under Siege
  • [05] A Candle for Albanian Victims in Drenica
  • [06] Seventeen Albanians Wounded by Firearms in Istog Protest Monday
  • [07] Serb-installed Authorities Support Serb Massacres in Drenica
  • [08] Police Operations Have not Ended, Serb-installed Spokesman Says
  • [09] President Rugova Receives Ambassador Robert S. Gelbard
  • [10] Gelbard and Rugova to the Press
  • [11] Statement of Robert S. Gelbard in USIS Prishtina, March 10, 1998
  • [12] Dreadful Images of Serb Massacre in Drenica, 37 of 53 Identified So Far

  • [01] At Least 80 Albanians Killed in a Week by Attacking Serb Forces

    PRISHTINA, March 10 (KIC) - The number of bodies of killed Albanian taken from the Prishtina morgue and sent to Skenderaj ('Srbica') reaches 49. Two more corpses (the bodies of Shaban Jashari and his son Hamz& Jashari), besides the 47 ones, were brought by Serb police to Skenderaj Monday.

    The number of the Albanians killed during the terrorist attack of Serb forces against Albanian families in Prekaz, and the persons killed by Serb snipers in Llausha village has reached 55 so far.

    Only last week, during a similar attack on Albanian families on 28 February and 1 March at Likoshan and Qirez villages twenty-five Albanians were killed by Serb forces.

    Thus, in one week alone, Serb forces killed and massacred 80 Albanian civilians in the Drenica region, including children, women and elderly people.

    [02] Albanian Doctors Denied Entrance to Skenderaj

    PRISHTINA, March 10 (KIC) - A team of Albanian doctors of the Prishtina Medical Faculty, including forensic experts and pathologists, were denied access to Skenderaj ('Srbica') Tuesday.

    Dr. Hashim Maloku, Dr. Jusuf Dedushaj, Dr. Suzana Manxhuka - K&rliu, Dr. Ramadan Sopi, Dr. Fadil Batalli, Dr. Lumturie Gashi, and other medical workers left Prishtina (Kosova's capital) this morning in an attempt to reach Skenderaj. Their mission was to see the bodies of the people killed and massacred by Serb forces at Prekaz i Posht&m over the course of last week.

    The team said they had been promised free access to Skenderaj by the Serbian authorities. The Serbian policemen stationed at Komaran roadblock turned them back after having held them for half-an-hour.

    [03] Families of Killed Albanians Prevented from Participating in Funeral Processions

    PRISHTINA, March 10 (KIC) - Seven Albanian families who have lost members of family during the Serb criminal attack against the Albanian family compounds in Prekaz i Posht&m, and who have found shelter in Mitrovica, were prevented from travelling to their birthplace to participate in funeral processions.

    Among them is one mother who lost her son during the Serb force's attack.

    The road from Mitrovica to Skenderaj is still blocked and controlled by heavy Serbian forces.

    Serb forces have kept a strict control of all the remote roads leading to Skenderaj.

    [04] Llausha Village Remains Under Siege

    PRISHTINA, March 10 (KIC) - LDK sources in Llausha told KIC on a telephone conversation this morning that the village continues to remain under siege today (Tuesday).

    The movement inside the village is virtually impossible. Serb forces snipe at everything that moves.

    [05] A Candle for Albanian Victims in Drenica

    PRISHTINA, March 10 (KIC) - Albanian women have been invited today (Tuesday) to light a candle in downtown Prishtina for the victims of the Serb terror in Drenica.

    The event will take place at 5 p.m., and will be organized by the Kosova Women's Network and the LDK Women's Forum.

    [06] Seventeen Albanians Wounded by Firearms in Istog Protest Monday

    PRISHTINA, March 10 (KIC) - LDK sources in Istog said Serb forces opened fire on Albanian peaceful protestors in the town of Istog Monday.

    Reportedly 17 persons received gunfire wounds.

    Among the wounded are: Jahir Arifaj from Istogu i Posht&m, Hajrush Shoshi from Kashica, Rrahim Isufaj from Kovraga, Azem Ademaj from Lubova, Sadri Halit Blakaj, Ahmet Podrimaj from Carralluka, Ryshit Arifaj from Istogu i Posht&m, Bajram Brahim Mavraj from Staradrani, Nexhmedin A. Blakaj and Muharrem Rugova from Llukavci i Begut, Zenun Sejdi Gjoci from Tomoc, Bajram Mavraj, Ismajl Mavraj and Selman Sylaj from Staradrani, as well as Shaban A. Blakaj, Mehmet A. Blakaj and Agron S.Blakaj.

    At least 19 persons have been reported to have been inflicted heavy body injuries.

    [07] Serb-installed Authorities Support Serb Massacres in Drenica

    PRISHTINA, March 10 (KIC) - The Serb-installed authorities and the Serb political parties and organizations in Kosova have come up with public support for the atrocities the Serb forces have been committing in the Drenica region.

    The Serbian media carried articles in support of the Serb forces' attacks on Albanian families, while denouncing "Albanian terrorism". The Serb ask for "tougher action to uproot Albanian terrorism" for good!

    Serb individuals and Serb Socialist Party chapters throughout Kosova have been sending telegrams of support to the Serbian authorities in Belgrade.

    Among those who voice support and express readiness to participate in Serb forces' actions in Kosova is the Society of Serb Paramilitaries, whose members fought in Bosnia and Croatia.

    Serbian media make no mention of the number of killed persons, or their age, nor the nature of Serb forces' attacks on Albanian family compounds.

    [08] Police Operations Have not Ended, Serb-installed Spokesman Says

    PRISHTINA, March (KIC) - The spokesman for the Serb-installed administration in Kosova, Bosko Drobnjak, said Monday "the police operations in the Drenica region have not been completed, and are continuing."

    "In the Drenica region the situation is under complete control.

    There has been no shooting, but the police operation has not been wrapped up, since there are more terrorists to be pursued. This is a clean-up operation to track down terrorists," Drobnjak told the Beta Serb news agency.

    [09] President Rugova Receives Ambassador Robert S. Gelbard

    PRISHTINA, March 10 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova received today for talks a senior level U.S. delegation chaired by Ambassador Robert S. Gelbard, Special Representative of the U.S. President for the Implementation of Dayton Accords. In the U.S. delegation were also James Covey, special adviser to the President, National Security Council, Bernd McConnell, director, Bosnia Task Force, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Brigadier General George W. Casey, Jr., Joint Chiefs of Staff, James Swigert, director, Office of South Central European Affairs, Department of State, and Ms Kathleen M. Redgate, Office of the Special Representative. Attending the meeting were also Ambassador Richard Miles, chief of U.S. Mission in Belgrade, Nicholas Hill, First Secretary in the Embassy, and Richard Huckaby, director of the USIS office in Prishtina.

    President Ibrahim Rugova and Special Representative Gelbard discussed at length about the situation in Kosova in the wake of actions of Serb forces in several Drenica villages as well as the outcome of the meeting of the six-nation Contact Group in London on Monday, in which Kosova was discussed and measures were adopted to address it.

    The situation in Kosova in these tragic days for our people is extremely grave and dangerous, the President said at the outset. He denounced in the strongest terms the atrocities Serb forces have committed against the unprotected local Albanian population, and pressed for urgent and strong international pressure to get Belgrade bring an end to its police/military operations. Serb forces should withdraw and lift the siege of the area so that access is allowed for humanitarian and medical teams to assist the affected people, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova stressed.

    The President underlined the unrelenting efforts of the Kosova leadership in Prishtina and local structures to handle this 2difficult situation and urge the people exercise restraint.

    The people of Kosova have been steadfast on their peaceful pursuit of the implementation of the political will for independence, President Ibrahim Rugova recalled. "We press for a peaceful settlement to the Kosova issue through negotiations and effective mediation".

    Ambassador Robert Gelbard briefed President Rugova on the outcome of the Contact Group meeting in London yesterday. The statement that came out of the meeting and the measures and sanctions adopted there related to Kosova are very important, President Clinton's envoy said, emphasizing the strong American engagement in stepping up international efforts on Kosova.

    The President of the Republic of Kosova welcomed the conclusions of the Contact Group meeting in London. He asked European countries, not only those participating in the Group, to be supportive of the sanctions and the initiation of an unconditional dialogue on Kosova.

    Dr. Ibrahim Rugova thanked the U.S., especially Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, for their leading role in international efforts on Kosova.

    Appreciative of the continued U.S. administration's support for Kosova, President Ibrahim Rugova stressed the significance of amicable ties between Kosova and the United States of America.

    [10] Gelbard and Rugova to the Press

    PRISHTINA, March 10 (KIC) - After the conclusion of their talks in Prishtina today, President Ibrahim Rugova of Kosova and U.S. President's Special Representative Robert Gelbard spoke to domestic and foreign press representatives.

    Following is Ambassador Gelbard's statement: "President Rugova and I had a very serious and very substantive conversation about the extremely worrisome situation here in Kosovo right now. As always, we are very much at agreement about analyses and description of the circumstances, about many of the issues - not all - and it continues to be the strongly-felt view of the U.S. Government, as of course of the Contact Group as a whole, which stated that we feel it has to be the initiation on the part of the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of measures to stop the violence. In fact violence must be stopped on both sides immediately. But the government in the first instance, which has so many instruments of power, needs to take the initiative to increase confidence and lower tensions, and initiate dialogue as a way of restoring confidence and ending what is turning into a dramatically worrisome cycle of violence and more violence."

    To a questioner who asked who 'both sides' are ('are the kids who are being killed terrorists?', as she put it), Ambassador Gelbard replied: "I think the student leaders are extremely responsible individuals.

    We obviously are tremendously saddened by all deaths and we feel the violence on all sides must stop immediately. There certainly cannot be provocations which lead to this gross over-reaction of violence by the government."

    The President of the Republic of Kosova, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova said in his statement to the reporters: "We are grateful to Mr. Gelbard, President Clinton's envoy, who came to Kosova today, in these hard times, and briefed us about the decisions of the Contact Group, which are very important and should be implemented. In addition, we thank the U.S. for its enormous efforts connected to the Contact Group meeting in London, which discussed Kosova", Dr. Ibrahim Rugova said.

    The President thanked the members of the Contact Group for their activities related to the most recent developments in Kosova and the Kosova issue in general. He urged other European countries support the decisions made by the Contact Group in its meeting held in London yesterday.

    Asked by reporters to say whether he was satisfied with the outcome of the meeting in London, President Rugova replied: "We would like to see more, greater international intervention, but the current constellations require a more intensive work in this direction, of course with the support of the USA and the EU".

    [11] Statement of Robert S. Gelbard in USIS Prishtina, March 10, 1998

    PRISHTINA, March 10 (KIC) - Following is the statement Robert S. Gelbard, Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State of the United States of America, made today (Tuesday) afternoon in USIS - Prishtina: "I am deeply saddened to arrive in Pristina in the wake to the tragedy which has been unfolding here over the course of the last two weeks. I would like first and foremost to extend my own and my government's most sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of all those who died as a result of the violence in the last weeks. The most important message that I can leave with you today is that the resort to violence by any element of society will engender only further violence; it will not produce a lasting, positive solution to Kosovo's problems.

    The statement adopted yesterday by Contact Group Ministers expresses the outrage of the international community over the Government police operations and violent clashes which resulted in the deaths of at least 80 people, including women, children and many innocent civilians. Government forces used brutal, disproportionate and overwhelming force in conducting these operations in a manner totally outside the rule of law, and the Contact Group insisted that Belgrade move immediately to de- escalate and reduce tensions. The Contact Group demonstrated seriousness of purpose in ensuring that President Milosevic understand that the time has come for a political settlement. The United States remains prepared and determined to participate in the facilitation of this solution.

    As you know the Contact Group imposed new sanctions on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and demanded that President Milosevic and his government takes immediate steps to: 1) stop the violence; 2) give the international community, including the media and humanitarian organizations and other NGOs, access to Drenica and all of Kosovo; 3) commit publicly to and begin a process of dialogue on Kosovo status; 4) cooperate in implementing the action plan adopted yesterday by Contact Group ministers which has 10 elements.

    Elements of the action plan include acceptance of a new Gonzalez mission, cooperation with a visit to Kosovo by the UN High commissioner on Human Rights; return of the OSCE Missions of long duration; full cooperation with Sant'Egidio on implementation of the Education Agreement, and cooperate with Sant'Egidio on implementation of the Education Agreement, and cooperate with the initiatives to enhance the international presence in Kosovo and establish a new international consortium to increase international assistance for building civil society in Kosovo. Finally, we have requested the ICTFY begin gathering information whether crimes have indeed committed, since her mandate clearly covers Kosovo now.

    The Contact Group set a deadline of 10 days for action on all these items, and agreed to move to further international measures if concrete progress has not been made on this agenda by that time.

    The Contact Group will meet at the end of March to review the situation.

    Governments have special responsibilities: the onus is on the government to resolve political conflicts through peaceful, political means, and to address violent actions in a responsible, proportionate way, in compliance with the rule of law and international standards. This government - that is the Belgrade authorities - have trampled on the rule of law, ignored its obligations to protect the rights of all citizens, ignored international obligations to provide humanitarian organizations, like ICRC and UNHCR unlimited access to provide desperately needed humanitarian aid as well as visit detainees. The only response this government seems to know how to make to the decade-old political dispute in Kosovo is violence and repression.

    It is up to this government, in the first instance, to lessen tensions and to take concrete steps to reduce tensions and build confidence so that an effective political solution can be found through peaceful dialogue. In line with the decisions of Contact Group ministers yesterday, Immediate measures should include: * the provision of complete access for all humanitarian organizations, and of course, journalists and Embassy representatives; * public recognition that civilians were killed during the operations and authorization for a thorough, transparent investigation of events; * an urgent invitation for an international group of forensics experts led by the ICRC to examine the victims of alleged executions by government authorities; * initiate dialogue, particularly urgent steps to reach agreement on, and begin implementation of an Education Agreement; * demonstrate respect for freedom of assembly and expression.

    Citizens of democratic societies also have responsibilities.

    Dialogue must involve two sides, and Kosovo's leaders also must be prepared to engage in unconditioned dialogue. To date, the Kosovar Albanian leadership has adhered to the principles of nonviolence and unconditioned dialogue. This is the only message which will effectively unite the people of Kosovo and is the only path which will ensure continued international support. We urge Doctor Rugova, the LDK, and the student leadership to stay the course.

    I congratulate the citizens of Pristina on holding peaceful demonstrations yesterday. This was a tremendous example of the power of peaceful expression - Contact Group ministers knew of your efforts and took that into account as they were meeting yesterday.

    At the same time, I must urge restraint and caution, and call upon Kosovo's leaders to do the same thing. Violent actions on both sides must cease. A cycle of violence can only bring more violence and suffering."

    [12] Dreadful Images of Serb Massacre in Drenica, 37 of 53 Identified So Far

    PRISHTINA, March 10 (KIC) - In the suburbs of Skenderaj, in the compounds of a construction material warehouse called "Servisi i Lahut" [Lahu's Service], are the bodies of 53 Albanians who were slain during a terrorist expedition of Serb forces at Prekaz i Ul&t village and wider in the Skenderaj municipality.

    Dreadful is the scene with corpses in two long rows. Side by side are the bodies of members of entire families. As many as 19 members have been killed or massacred from an extended family, another one has five members perished.

    The picture of the bodies of slain Albanians bespeaks the intention of the Serb forces to massacre the local population. Two bodies have signs of having been hit with grenades, one in the bosom, the other in the neck and throat. Shaban Jashari has signs of having been slaughtered with knives. He has an arm cut off, and his eyes extracted. A young has his head cut into two halves.

    It is evident that some people were killed by heavy gunfire. Other were tortured to death. Adem Jashari has the sign of a single bullet in his throat. It is he who the police were allegedly tracking down.

    Most dreadful is seeing the bodies of slain children.

    Zen& Jashari (48), had his sons, five-year-old Blerim, 12-year-old Bujar, 15-year-old Abdullah, and his wife, 43-year-old Bahtie (pregnant) killed. Bahtie and her three sons had gone to Zen&'s uncle Halit's place; it was his house that was shelled. Bahtie and Abdullah were killed on the spot. The two small boys were taken by police and sent to the compounds of the Game Ammunition Factory.

    "I hoped they were alive, but I was shocked to see their bodies here, brought in by police!" - Zen& Jashari says.

    The bodies of the two boys have signs of hits with solid objects.

    Blerim has signs on the right of his head, whereas Bujar was hit with a bullet on his left temple.

    "It is two days and nights that I am here. I cannot separate from my children!" - Zen& says.

    Shocking was the experience of those trying to identify their beloved, who were killed by Serb forces. Fearful of Serb snipers, many people have not yet come to identify their dead.

    Abaz Jashari (22) was terrified to see the bodies of his father and grandmother, whom he was hopeful to find alive. He is fearful his younger brother is among the dead, for whose body he was looking there in the two rows.

    In what amounts to an improvised morgue, the activists of the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK) and the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF) tried to carry out identification of the bodies of killed Albanians. They have managed so far to identify thirty-seven (37) of them. It will be very hard for four corpses, which have been carbonated, to be identified.

    Identification is difficult also because of the fact that the residents of the Prekaz i Ul&t are still under a strong siege.

    In a bid to hide the evidence of its crimes, the Serb police pressurized the families to carry out the burial processions of the killed within the course of today. Serb police authorities in Skenderaj ('Srbica') threatened several times today they would themselves bury the dead if the families do not abide by their orders.

    The burial processions will be hard also because of the small number of people who could carry out the necessary preparations and work to do that. There are families with no members left in Prekaz or Skenderaj, either because they have perished or abandoned the area, fleeing elsewhere to escape Serb crackdown.

    Representatives of some international humanitarian organizations and international TV crews were in Skenderaj today.

    Again today, the Serb police did not allow access to Skenderaj of a delegation of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent.

    Skenderaj was visited today by a delegation of the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK), consisting of Mr. Anton Noka, vice- chairman, Mr. Fatmir Sejdiu, Secretary-General, Dr. Rexhep Gjergji, Mr. Basri Musmurati, Mr. Abdyl Ramaj, and Mr. Ram& Buja, members of the LDK Presidency, Dr. Edi Shukriu, chairwoman of LDK Women's Forum, Mr. Naim Jerliu, chairman of the LDK Youth Forum, and Mr. Enver Maloku, head of the Kosova Information Center (KIC).

    The delegation could not meet with leaders of the local LDK branch in Skenderaj, because most of them are in Llausha or other villages which are sealed off by Serb forces.

    The local LDK activists speaking to the senior LDK delegation said the situation in Skenderaj is dramatic in all aspects. Regarding security, all the inhabitants of the Drenica region are threatened.

    Serb forces on high alert to threaten virtually all individuals.

    Serb snipers could be seen in the hills surrounding Skenderaj, who have for days been keeping villages and the small town itself under siege.

    The situation is dramatic regarding medical services and supplies as well as food supplies. The shops in Skenderaj are all virtually closed in fear Serb actions or because of lack of goods.

    Alongside the villages in Drenica, from Komoran to Gllogovc and Skenderaj, it looks as if life has stopped and terribly stopped. At Komoran, for an hour, a single person could not be seen around.

    The local LDK activist, Mr. Rifat Bejta, told the KIC the following killed persons have been identified so far:

    1. Qazim Jashari 2. Nazmi Zuk& Jashari 3. Sinan Ramadan Jashari 4. Zarife Bahtir Jashari (f) 5. Zaha Jashari (f) 6. Kushtrim Adem Jashari 7. Ali Ramdan Jashari 8. Osman Shaban Geci 9. Faik Tahir Jashari 10. Adem Shaban Jashari 11. Beqir Bajram Jashari 12. Sherif Brahim Jashari 13. Hajrez Zymer Jashari 14. Halit Imer Jashari 15. Halil Bajram Jashari 16. Bahtie Muharrem Jashari (f) 17. Isak Feriz Halili 18. Feride Ramadan Jashari (f) 19. Besim Hamz& Jashari 20. Blerim Zen& Jashari 21. Bujar Zen& Jashari 22. Abdullah Zen& Jashari 23. Elhame Jashari (f) 24. Murtez Zymer Jashari 25. Fatime Gashi (f) 26. Makfirete Gashi (f) 27. Gazmend Gashi 28. Sadik Miran Ka^kini 29. Miftar Rreci 30. Hamz& Shaban Jashari 31. Shaban Jashari 32. Qerim Hamz& Jashari 33. Blerim Hamz& Jashari 34. Igball Rifat Jashari 35. Fatushe Hamz& Jashari (f) 36. Elfete Hamz& Jashari (f) 37. Adile Jashari (f)

    Kosova Information Center


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