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Kosova Daily Report #1510, 98-08-03

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 #1510
Prishtina, 3 August 1998


CONTENTS

  • [01] President Ibrahim Rugova Receives Ambassador Hill
  • [02] Ambassador Chris Hill's Q&A with the Press in Prishtina
  • [03] Entire Villages Burning in Drenica as Serb Offensive Continues
  • [04] Extremely Dramatic Situation in Klina as Serbs Mount the Biggest Offensive Yet
  • [05] All-out Serb Military and Police Offensive in the Gjakova Area
  • [06] Serb Offensive in Malisheva Left at Least 17 Dead
  • [07] Serb Offensive Steps Up in De^an Area
  • [08] Serbs Mount Frontal Attack against Lugu i Baranit Villages, in Peja and Klina
  • [09] Serbs Launch Huge Attack on Areas South-East of Prishtina
  • [10] Serbs Pillage and Set Ablaze Albanian Houses in Suhareka
  • [11] Eight-Year-Old Boy Killed, Mother Wounded, at Montenegro-Albania Border

  • [01] President Ibrahim Rugova Receives Ambassador Hill

    PRISHTINA, Aug 3 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova received today in Prishtina the U.S. Ambassador to FYROM, Chris Hill, who is mediating between Prishtina and Belgrade.

    The most recent developments in Kosova were discussed in the meeting.

    President Rugova said the situation in Kosova was becoming dramatic amidst the continued Serb military and police offensive in the villages of Drenica, De^an, Gjakova and the Albanian settlements along the Kosova-Albania border.

    Serb forces are killing Albanian civilians, burning and destroying entire villages in these parts of Kosova, resulting in a forced displacement of a great number of people, Rugova said.

    "Belgrade is carrying out a large-scale ethnic cleansing against Albanians in Kosova", the President said, calling for an urgent intervention by the United States and its allies to halt the Serbian offensive and provide "international protection for the people of Kosova".

    Regarding the extremely grave humanitarian situation in Kosova, Ibrahim Rugova said tens of thousands of Albanians displaced from areas under Serbian attack have been for days in the open, without any humanitarian care. He urged for a speedy humanitarian action to help the displaced population who are threatened by diseases and starvation.

    Meanwhile, President Rugova and Ambassador Chris Hill met in Prishtina with the chairman of the LDK chapter in Rahovec, Mr. Bedredin Shehu, and a group of citizens from this town.

    The situation in Rahovec in the aftermath of the Serbian attack was discussed, focussing on ways to secure their return to their homes.

    [02] Ambassador Chris Hill's Q&A with the Press in Prishtina

    PRISHTINA, Aug 3 (KIC) - Ambassador Chris Hill, the U.S. diplomat who mediates between Prishtina and Belgrade, spoke to the press in Prishtina today after a meeting with President Ibrahim Rugova of Kosova.

    Following is as unofficial transcript of questions and answers to and by Christopher Hill.

    (Begin text) Q: There is a general feeling in Kosova that the recent massacre is being helped by the U.S. and Europe.

    A: It is absolutely, and essentially, nonsense that we support any type of such violence. Violence has to be stopped. It is very clear that there is a Serb offensive now. The Serb offensive has not played any useful role in finding a political solution. It sets back the chances for finding a political solution. In the meantime, it has only created more refugees and displaced people.

    We are extremely concerned about these displaced people. I just met with a group of people from Orahovac, who told their stories about how they became displaced. I was particularly interested in ideas on how we can get them back in their homes. It is not an easy process, they cannot feel secure about going back and we need to figure out ways to make them more secure. And, that's what I intend to work on in the next few days, to see if we can get a process of getting people back to their homes. I think we are on the edge of a humanitarian catastrophe, if we do not send people back to their homes in safety. It means that we, the international community, need to devote our efforts to see what we can do to help improve the security situation.

    Q: You said yesterday that Milosevic promised the people to be back and he would let them go back home. Do you think it can be done now with this wide operation and ethnic cleansing?

    A: I reported that he said he was in favor of the people returning to their homes. He also said he was prepared to ensure full access, especially for diplomatic observers. I am not interested on what anyone tells me, I am interested in facts on the ground. And, it is very clear that we do not have these facts here on the ground and that's what will worry us in the next few days.

    Q: Did they [people from Rahovec, KIC] get any guarantee of safety when they go back?

    A: I think we have to figure out [ways] to guarantee their safety.

    Yes, and this is a big problem, and this is what we need to work in the coming days.

    Q: Does Milosevic have to complete his ethnic cleansing campaign in Kosova before you admit that?

    A: What we need is a process of political negotiations in Kosova.

    There is no military solution in Kosovo. I think the sides are trying to make a point that there is a military solution. There is no military solution. As to the political solution, the United States are prepared to be part of that solution; we are prepared to help seek it; we are prepared to be part of implementing such a political solution. That is where the future lies, not in the military solutions, which all they can do is create more refugees.

    I don't care how many roads you block, how many roads you unblock - this is not a way to find a solution to the Kosovo problem.

    Q: Don't you think that there is a military solution going on right 2now?

    A: I think that there are efforts to find a military solution, and those efforts are absolutely in vain; they will not work. We need a political solution, and this violence, especially in the past few days, sets back the opportunities for finding a peaceful solution.

    Q: Milosevic has for years been outsmarting the West, including the United States, by giving assurances which play as music to your ears.

    A: I am not interested in anyone's assurances. I am interested in facts on the ground, and we do not have facts on the ground as far as I can see. So, I am here to see if we can get some new facts on the ground.

    Q: But Milosevic's assurances have been valued ... [the reporter wavered an official State Department statement entitled "Text: State Dept. on Milosevic Assurances on Kosovo Situation"] A: I evaluate facts on the ground. Thank you.

    (End text)

    [03] Entire Villages Burning in Drenica as Serb Offensive Continues

    Reports said Serb infantry units are advancing into the villages PRISHTINA, Aug 3 (KIC) - Entire villages have been reported burning in the municipality of Skenderaj ("Srbica') amidst continued shelling by Serb troops.

    The villages of Polluzha, T&rstenik, Polac, Kryshec, Morina, Rakinica, etc, are reported in flames.

    Serbian forces have embarked today on a large-scale offensive in almost all the villages of the Drenica region.

    Local sources said today morning four shells landed in the village of Likoc, where a great number of displaced people from other areas are.

    In the village of Llaush& three heavy detonations were heard last night, presumed to be from the explosion of three ground-to-ground rocket shells.

    Serb forces have surrounded the village of Izbic&, in the municipality of Skenderaj, in which 800 people are reported effectively holed up.

    Reports said in the afternoon the villages in the direction Kryshec - Polac - T&rstenik are in flames, and Serb infantry units are advancing into the villages.

    Thousands of Albanians from Drenica have been streaming towards villages in the neighboring municipality of Vushtrri ('Vucitrn').

    Local sources said the villages of Be^iq, Dubofc, Galic&, and Bukosh have been the destination of many fleeing Albanians from Skenderaj.

    Some 700 people have been housed in the premises of the elementary school building in Dubofc, LDK sources from Vushtrri said.

    [04] Extremely Dramatic Situation in Klina as Serbs Mount the Biggest Offensive Yet

    PRISHTINA, Aug 3 (KIC) - Over thirty Albanian settlements in the municipality of Klina have been affected by a brutal Serb forces offensive since Sunday morning.

    The villages of Cerovik, Qabiq, Zab&rgj&, Dob&rdol, Ujmir, and Shatric&, have been reported burned down almost completely, witnesses said. The KIC sources in Klina could so far learn about two killed Albanians in these villages. LDK activists said they feared the casualty-toll could be the highest since the break-out of the conflict in this part of Kosova.

    Witnesses, including some foreign reporters, said clouds of smoke have been billowing from Klina villages today morning.

    It is virtually impossible to determine the number of Serb troops involved in the unfolding Serb offensive, LDK sources in Klina said, adding that the area has been packed with policemen and soldiers, and motorized units.

    Besides the Klina villages, those in the neighboring municipality of Skenderaj have also been targeted in the ongoing Serb offensive.

    Sources said that the villages of Gllarev&, Rixhev&, Stapanic&, Jashanic&, Pogragj&, Dush, Gjurgjevik i Madh, K&rrnic&, Jellovc, Resnik, Gjurgjevik i Vog&l, and A^arev& in Sk&nderaj have been pounded from a wide range of Serb arsenal of arms.

    The KIC could so far learn the identity of some victims of the most recent Serb attack, including Fatmir Hoti in Jashanica and Hysni Arif Gashi (80) at ^abiq. There are many wounded Albanians, laying helpless in the ruins and in the fields, with no one being able to assist them while the area is being intermittently pounded.

    [05] All-out Serb Military and Police Offensive in the Gjakova Area

    PRISHTINA, Aug 3 (KIC) - An unrelenting Serbian offensive involving military, paramilitary and police forces, has been going on in the Gjakova area, in south-west Kosova, local sources said today.

    Local Albanian resistance forces have been faced last night and today with a Serb offensive in the Reka e Keqe region, namely the villages of Nec, Ramoc, Smolic&, Berjah, Stub&ll, Nivokaz, Dobrosh, and in the huge village of Junik, LDK sources in Gjakova said.

    During the day and in the evening yesterday (Sunday), a Serb military helicopter with the Red Cross sign was involved in the operations in the region of Has, namely the villages of Prush, Goden and Zylfaj. Machine-gun fire was opened from the helicopter from the Babaj i Bok&s to the villages of Goden.

    In the region of Dushkaj& in the municipality of Gjakova, yesterday's Serb offensive resume today.

    Heavy Serb artillery is being used in the operations in Dushkaj&, whereas the village of C&rmjan, the center of the region, is in flames and smoke in the midst of heavy shelling. The Suka e C&rmjanit (C&rmjan upland), inlcuding religious shrines in it, have been hit. The villages of Meq& and Rakovin& have been shelled, too.

    The villages north-west, towards De^an, have been targeted also.

    The attacked area being sealed off, it is virtually impossible to obtain detailed information on the extent of damages and the casualty-toll, which are feared to be immense and high.

    Local reports from Gjakova said two bodies were taken to the Gjakova morgue today. The were presumed to be the bodies of Albanians killed while working in their fields in Dushkaj& region.

    Five wounded have been taken to the Gjakova hospital, all residents of the village of Berjah&, Reka e Keqe, who were wounded during Serb shelling.

    The town of Gjakova cannot cope with so many displaced people who have been trying to reach and find safety there.

    Only local resistance forces have stayed behind in the Reka e Keqe region, in peacetime home to 20.000 people.

    Thousands of people displaced from their homes in Gjakova villages or the area in the neighboring municipality of Rahovec have been trying in vain to secure shelter and food in safer areas. Many of them ran to the mountains or wooded area.

    The huge number of displaced people at a time the Serb offensive is still going on has made it impossible for local structures to even have them duly registered, local sources said.

    A car of foreign observers drove yesterday speedily through the main street in Gjakova. This was all the presence of 'international community' in town, sources added.

    [06] Serb Offensive in Malisheva Left at Least 17 Dead

    PRISHTINA, Aug 3 (KIC) - Last week's Serb crackdown on the Malisheva area left at least 17 Albanians dead, most of them women and the elderly, and many more wounded, local sources said today.

    They gave the names of the killed and wounded, but added the casualty-toll may well be higher.

    Many villages have been burned during Serb shelling, but also when Serbs set them ablaze.

    The displaced population - many of whom live in the open - is facing a humanitarian catastrophe, as basic food and medical supplies are lacking.

    [07] Serb Offensive Steps Up in De^an Area

    PRISHTINA, Aug 3 (KIC) - The Serbian military and police offensive against the village of De^an continues unabated, local sources said today.

    Reports said the fiercest attacks yesterday and today occurred in the village of Rastavic&, Prejlep, Irzniq, Baballoq, Isniq, Shaptej, Gramaqel, and Junik.

    The Serb troops have been using tanks and heavy artillery in their offensive.

    Scant information is trickling out from the area.

    In the village of Rastavic&, Rexhep Kadria (23) and Emine Dervishaj, mother of two, were killed during the Serb shelling. The two were buried last night in the village of Irzniq.

    Heavy fighting was reported in the village of Prejlep. Many houses have been damaged there, and the minaret of the local mosque destroyed by the Serb shelling.

    Considerable damage has been caused to the farmsteads in other attacked villages, too.

    The village of Gllogjan was attacked last night. Tens of houses have been burned or destroyed there. The civilians who managed to escape have found refuge in the Catholic church in the village.

    Reports said today heavy fighting was going on the villages of Prejlep and Junik.

    The huge village of Junik has been under heavy Serb shelling in the past 24 hours.

    There have been no reports on the extent of damage or the casualties there.

    Some 80.000 Albanians are estimated to be internally-displaced people in the villages of the municipalities of Peja and De^an.

    They fled their homes after their villages were attacked by Serb forces.

    A new Srebrenica is feared in the Rrafshi i Dukagjinit (Dukagjini plateau).

    There is no free corridor for the evacuation of some 30.000 people, most of whom women, children and the elderly, local sources said.

    [08] Serbs Mount Frontal Attack against Lugu i Baranit Villages, in Peja and Klina

    PRISHTINA, Aug 3 (KIC) - Serbian forces have mounted a frontal attack against the Lugu i Baranit villages, a region stretching in the municipalities of Klina and Peja ('Pec').

    Mr. Rrok Berisha, member to the Kosova Parliament, told the KIC that the latest Serb offensive was kicked off Sunday morning. The villages of Bokshiq, Qeskov&, K&puz, Gllogjan, Nepole, Llugagji, Jabllanic& and have been targeted, he said.

    At around 4 p.m. yesterday (Sunday), Serbian forces advanced into the villages, resorting to campaigns of atrocities and destruction.

    Serb police, military and paramilitary forces first pounded villages with heavy artillery guns, then set them ablaze, killed and massacred the unprotected Albanian population with impunity, Mr. Berisha said.

    It is feared that the casualty-toll in the unfolding Serb offensive in the Lugu i Baranit region is high. Those who could run away before the Serb crackdown have been sheltered in the surrounding forests, while a large number have been trapped into the "Sh&n Ndou" local Catholic church in Gllogjan. It is believed dozens of men, women and children, as well a reverend Kelmend Spaqi have been held as hostage in the hands of Serbs. The Serb offensive has in the region has continued unabated during the whole course of today.

    The villages of Gllogjan, Nepole, Llugagji, Jabllanic&, Kralan&, Zhebel, have been targeted by Serbs today. At least 150 Serb tanks have been involved in the offensive, witnesses said.

    It is virtually impossible to establish factual consequences of the ongoing Serb onslaught in the area.

    [09] Serbs Launch Huge Attack on Areas South-East of Prishtina

    PRISHTINA, Aug 3 (KIC) - Since 3 a.m. today, Serbian forces have launched a wide offensive, targeting villages in the municipalities of Shtime and Lipjan, south-east of Prishtina.

    LDK sources in Lipjan and Shtime said Serb troops have been attacking Albanian settlements from their positions along the Shtime-Prizren road, as well as Lipjan-Magure-Shala, targeting villages on the east edge of the Drenica region - Shala, Krojmir, Leletiq, Nekoc, Baic&, etc.

    No other vehicle but the Serb army and police have been moving along these two roads since the morning today, sources said. Serb police did not allow the marketplace open in the town of Lipjan today.

    Still unconfirmed accounts said that Serb forces have pounded today the Kle^ka village, which, together with some neighboring villages, has been the 'safe haven' of thousands of people fleeing Serb attacks in Drenica and Lipjan villages.

    [10] Serbs Pillage and Set Ablaze Albanian Houses in Suhareka

    PRISHTINA, Aug 3 (KIC) - For the fourth straight day, the Serb forces have been involved in a barbarous campaign of looting and torching Albanian houses in the municipality of Suhareka.

    Sources said Serb forces, mainly from two bases at Bllaca and Duhla, have been pounding the outlying villages with heavy artillery guns. Subsequently, they advanced with trucks and infantry into deserted villages, pillaging them mercilessly.

    Witnesses said they had seen Serbs dousing the houses and farms of Albanians with petrol, and setting them ablaze.

    Some Albanians attempted on Sunday to return to their own villages.

    They failed to do so because of Serb fire.

    The LDK information chapter in Suhareka said it is impossible to locate persons displaced from their own villages targeted by Serbs.

    They may die in the open, without food and medication.

    [11] Eight-Year-Old Boy Killed, Mother Wounded, at Montenegro-Albania Border

    PRISHTINA, Aug 3 (KIC) - An 8-year-old boy, Ngadh&njim Hoxha from the town of Suhareka, was reported shot dead Sunday evening near the Montenegro- Albania border. The boy's mother, Xhezide Hoxha (30), has received life- threatening wounds, too.

    Sources said that Ngadh&njim Hoxha was shot yesterday evening, at around 8 p.m., while trying to cross into Albania via the Buna river.

    Unwarranted fire was opened on the 12-member Hoxha family by still unidentified gunmen.

    Kosova Information Center

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