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Kosova Daily Report #1513, 98-08-06

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 #1513
Prishtina, 6 August 1998


CONTENTS

  • [01] President Rugova Declares Friday a Day of National Mourning in Kosova
  • [02] Kosova, a Collective Site of Serb Crime
  • [03] CSCE Urges Clinton on Immediate And Decisive Action to Stop Conflict in Kosova
  • [04] Serbian Forces Shell Rrezall& and Likoc Villages
  • [05] Fighting Continues in Gjakova Area
  • [06] Two Albanians Killed in Meqe Village of Gjakova
  • [07] Fate of Ten Albanians, Abducted by Serbs, Unknown
  • [08] Albanian Dies of Torture in Serb Police Custody
  • [09] One Albanian Killed, Three Wounded, in Pantina of Vushtrri Thursday
  • [10] Dread and Hunger Loom over Thousands of Refugees Hiding in Klina Hills
  • [11] Serb Police Shoots Dead Albanian in Peja Suburb
  • [12] Serb Police Shoots at Local LDK Official in Istog
  • [13] Albanians Flee Obiliq Villages as Serbs Press with Intimidation Campaign
  • [14] Four Albanians Sentenced with Long Imprisonment on Alleged Terrorism Charges
  • [15] Serb Civilians Open Fire on Albanian Houses in Kamenica

  • [01] President Rugova Declares Friday a Day of National Mourning in Kosova

    PRISHTINA, Aug 6 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova declared Friday, 7 August, a day of national mourning in Kosova to honor those killed and massacred in Rahovec by Serbian military and paramilitary police troops.

    This declaration comes amidst reports that massive graves exist in Rahovec in which Albanians slain by Serb troops late last month have been interred.

    [02] Kosova, a Collective Site of Serb Crime

    Massive graves in Rahovec?

    There is a massive-scale Serbian crime in Kosova.

    PRISHTINA, Aug 6 (KIC) - Are there massive graves in Rahovec?

    Reports in the Austrian and German press about the existence of collective grave sites highlighted the fact which puts journalists and politicians at odds: the former tend to use their eyes, the latter to turn one or both of them blind.

    There was footage aired yesterday of a mass grave in the suburbs of Rahovec, at a garbage dump site!

    Serb-installed authorities said the bodies of 40 members of the U^K, killed two weeks ago, were interned there, adding that there were seven women among the 58 bodies collected by Serb forces.

    Who would believe that a garbage dump site would be turned into a mass grave? Serbs have shown propensity of desecrating human bodies in the conflicts in Bosnia, in Croatia and now in Kosova.

    The dilemma about mass graves has been aired by major world media in the past 24 hours.

    Belgrade tried to refute reports. The EU observers came up with a statement implying refutation of such reports.

    The controversy will last.

    There is sound ground, though, to believe that collective burial sites exist, as there is a possibility that the burial sites may have been hidden by Serbs.

    Serb experts who chose the garbage dump site as a location for the burial site may have reasoned that in the heat the bodies would decompose swiftly, and, besides, those passing by would be led to think it was garbage that was stinking.

    Tens of thousands of residents of Rahovec area have been scattered all over Kosova, unaware of the whereabouts of their kin, or even whether they were alive at all.

    The dilemma will continue to live as to whether there are massive graves in Rahovec.

    What is beyond any doubt is that Belgrade has committed and is continuing to commit crimes against humanity in Kosova.

    There is no doubt that the Serb crime in Kosova and in Rahovec is a fact.

    The controversy and speculation about the mass graves in the West is reminiscent of the talk of Serb forces resorting to 'excessive force' in Kosova.

    The matter is now whether a massive-scale crime will be rewarded or punished, not whether somebody will be tried and punished for the digging of a massive burial site.

    [03] CSCE Urges Clinton on Immediate And Decisive Action to Stop Conflict in Kosova

    PRISHTINA, Aug 6 (KIC) - Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY) and Representative Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), co-chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), sent a letter to President Clinton August 5 calling for "immediate and decisive action to stop the conflict in Kosovo before the ethnic cleansers win."

    The letter said, "We believe that strong action to stop the fighting is urgently needed. We need a forceful response to these Yugoslav/Serbian attacks, or a new crisis in the Balkans will result."

    Yugoslav/Serbian forces using tanks and other heavy weapons are attacking Albanian-inhabited towns and villages in several regions of Kosovo."

    D'Amato and Smith urged Clinton "to seek an agreement within NATO to act directly against those within Kosovo who are attacking civilian populations."

    The letter said the "crisis cannot be avoided by additional aid, but only by stopping its cause - Milosevic's use of armed force to pursue his political ambitions. Moreover, we know Milosevic's record not only in Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995 but now in Kosovo as well. Milosevic will only cooperate with our diplomatic efforts when he can no longer freely use force to attain his goals."

    D' Amato and Smith stressed that "an active and direct response ... is what is needed most right now.... Delay will prove costly and reduce the chance for success."

    In conclusion, they warned that "if the ethnic cleansers win, even while the spotlight of international attention is turned on them, hope for a peaceful future for all of mankind where each individual's rights are respected under the rule of law will be diminished for the foreseeable future."

    The CSCE, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the U.S. government mandated to monitor and encourage compliance of the participating States with the Helsinki Final Act and subsequent documents.

    [04] Serbian Forces Shell Rrezall& and Likoc Villages

    PRISHTINA, Aug 6 (KIC) - Serbian troops launched overnight missiles on the villages of Rrezall& and Likoc, in the municipality of Skenderaj ('Srbica').

    A local human rights activist in Likoc told the KIC by phone at ten o'clock in the morning today Serb forces resumed shelling Likoc today, whereas infantry troops entered parts of the village of Rrezall&.

    Entire family compounds are in flames in this village after Serb shelling, he said.

    Serb shells are reportedly landing in the villages of Likoc, Plluzhin&, Izbic&, and elseewhere in the vicinity.

    Part of the population has been evacuated from Likoc, but there are still people in the village, the human rights activist said.

    Last week, the U.S. envoy Chris Hill met with U^K representatives in the village of Likoc.

    [05] Fighting Continues in Gjakova Area

    PRISHTINA, Aug 6 (KIC) - Fighting between Serb troops and local Albanian resistance forces was reported last night and today in the Gjakova area.

    In the Reka e Keqe region the fighting was of a low intensity. In the Junik area, local Albanian forces have been resisting fierce attacks mounted by Serb military and police, the LDK Information Commission in Gjakova reported.

    Reports say all the villages of the Reka e Keqe region have been deserted of the population, some 15,000 Albanians, who have fled to the relative safety of outlying villages and the town of Gjakova itself. Many of them have found refuge in the surrounding mountainous forests.

    Overnight fighting was reported in the region of Dushkaj&, which resumed today, concentrated mostly in the village of Rakovin&, but extending also to the villages of the Drini river area.

    Serbian military and police forces, positioned on the Beci hills and the Suka e Biteshit (Biteshi upland), have been shelling Rakovin& and outlying villages last night and today, local sources said. Fierce fighting is reported between Serb troops and local Albanian resistance forces.

    Meanwhile, reports said the Serb military and police shelled yesterday for three hours, from 21:00 through 24:00 hrs, the Albanian farmsteads in the village of Pnish, in the Has region of Gjakova. Serbs were stationed in the local Albanian elementary school building and around it. There have been no reported casualties, but the material damage was immense.

    Local LDK sources said an Albanian catholic cleric, Don Kol& Tha^i, was beaten up yesterday by Serb policemen manning a checkpoint at the entrance to the town of Gjakova.

    [06] Two Albanians Killed in Meqe Village of Gjakova

    PRISHTINA, Aug 6 (KIC) - The bodies of two killed Albanians were taken by police to the Gjakova town morgue today. Their identity has not been established yet.

    The LDK Information Commission in Gjakova said the two Albanian were killed by Serb forces during an attack on the village of Meqe in the Dushkaj& region of the municipality of Gjakova.

    Meanwhile, the identity of a killed man who body has been lying between the villages of Mej& and Madanaj, has been established. The man was Nek& Halit Pajaziti (53), resident of the village of Dobrosh, municipality of Gjakova.

    [07] Fate of Ten Albanians, Abducted by Serbs, Unknown

    PRISHTINA, Aug 6 (KIC) - A month elapsed since Serb police and paramilitaries abducted ten Albanians in the village of Gorozhdec of Peja ('Pec'), the LDK Information Commission in Klina said.

    The ten Albanians were residents of the village of Rudic&, municipality of Klina.

    Seven of the ten were taken to the police station in Peja then, whereas the fate and location of Niman Bajraktari, Haki Ahmetgjekaj, and Bashkim Mehemtaj, is unknown, LDK sources said.

    [08] Albanian Dies of Torture in Serb Police Custody

    Two Albanians killed on July 28 buried yesterday PRISHTINA, Aug 6 (KIC) - A 26-year-Albanian, Teki Ramshaj from Rahovec, was reported tortured to death in the hands of the Serb police.

    Quoting eyewitnesses, the LDK chapter in Prizren said Teki Ramshaj was subjected to savage torture in the premises of the Serb police in Prizren. He died on Tuesday and was reportedly buried the same day somewhere near Rahovec ('Orahovac').

    Meanwhile, the LDK Information Commission said that two Albanians killed in fighting with Serb forces were buried today in their native villages on the Kosova-Albanian border region.

    Nexhat Fanaj (31) was buried in his Grazhdanik village, while Behamir Memaj (28) in Zhur, the report said.

    The two Albanians were killed on 28 July, but their bodies could only be collected yesterday.

    [09] One Albanian Killed, Three Wounded, in Pantina of Vushtrri Thursday

    PRISHTINA, Aug 6 (KIC) - Serb (Yugoslav) army troops were reported sent early in the morning today near the Pantina village of Vushtrri. They were immediately engaged in shelling farmhouses there.

    Sources in Vushtrri ('Vucitrn') said Serbs fired only a few shells in the direction of Pantina, yet they caused fear and panic amongst villagers, who started fleeing their homes.

    Heavy Serb forces have been positioned around the village of Pantina for days now, targeting farmhouses there now and then.

    The local LDK chapter in Vushtrri said around 25,000 uprooted persons from the neighboring municipalities have arrived in the Vushtrri area.

    Senior members of the LDK Presidency visited yesterday some of the villages in the area swelled with refugees. Most of them have been for the time being accommodated with and fed by local people, said the Hajzer Krasniqi and Ibush Jonuzi, who warned that their food supplies have been rapidly running short. The major problem for the moment is lack of medical supplies and treatment, they were quoted as saying.

    Ali Xhibexhiu, owner of a private bakery in Vushtrri, was reported beaten up brutally by a Serb police patrol which broke into his shop Wednesday evening. The reason he was beaten up was baking bread for the refugees with the flour delivered to him by the "Mother Teresa" charity.

    Meanwhile, the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF) said a 24-year-old Albanian, Jeton T&rstena, was killed, and at least three others were wounded in today's shelling of Pantina village.

    The CDHRF said that immense damage was caused to several houses in the village.

    [10] Dread and Hunger Loom over Thousands of Refugees Hiding in Klina Hills

    PRISHTINA, Aug 6 (KIC) - Over ten thousand Albanians from several villages around Klina have been for days living in the open, while hunger and possible Serb crackdown looms over them.

    Sources in Klina said thousands of homeless people, including children, women, and weak persons have been on the verge of starvation. The people have been lacking the very basic necessities, like water and food, as well as medication, witnesses said.

    Entire villages in the municipality have been pounded for days, some of them like ^askova have been leveled, reports said. Heavy artillery fire has been reported still going on today around the Jabllanica village, in the neighboring municipality of Gjakova.

    Clouds of smoke have been billowing from the area, said witnesses who were not able to tell what has been all going on in the village under continued Serb artillery fire.

    [11] Serb Police Shoots Dead Albanian in Peja Suburb

    PRISHTINA, Aug 6 (KIC) - A 28-year-old Albanian, Agim Zekaj, resident of Raushiq village of Peja, western Kosova, was shot dead by the Serb police, local LDK sources reported.

    Witnesses have told the LDK chapter in Peja that the late Albanian was gunned down by Serb police just outside Peja, on the road to the Gryka e Rugov&s (the Rugova Gorge), an area where there has not been fighting so far.

    The late Agim Zekaj was buried in the town cemetery in Peja on Wednesday.

    Meanwhile, the LDK Information Commission in Peja said today that a group of drunk Serb policemen harassed passerby in the streets of the town yesterday afternoon.

    Serbs terrorized at gunpoint random passengers in the town and opened fire on several houses, the report said.

    [12] Serb Police Shoots at Local LDK Official in Istog

    PRISHTINA, Aug 6 (KIC) - A Serb policeman, Salem Djogovic, illtreated and shot at Zymber Ademaj, member of the LDK leadership in Istog, on Tuesday afternoon. He ill-treated a number of other Albanians that day.

    LDK chapter in Istog said the Serb policeman hit Mr. Ademaj with a gun barrel, and even shot in his direction, but missed him.

    Djogovic then took two Albanians by forces in the police station.

    Rexhep Maksutaj and Ramadan Selmanaj, taken allegedly as witnesses, were ill-treated in police station.

    The Serb policemen got out of the police station with an automatic rifle, provoking other Albanians in the center of Istog.

    [13] Albanians Flee Obiliq Villages as Serbs Press with Intimidation Campaign

    PRISHTINA, Aug 6 (KIC) - The Serb population in the villages of the Obiliq municipality, north-west of Prishtina, have been increasingly mobilized with the Serb troops, the local LDK Information Commission said.

    The Commission said several Albanian villages in the municipality have been under continued fire for the sixth straight day today.

    The shelling is of a low intensity, but it has made more and more people flee their homes fearing a possible crackdown by Serb troops and paramilitary gangs. The villages of Graboc i Ep&rm, Graboc i Ul&t, Shipitull&, Siboc, Lajthisht&, Hamidi and Plemetin have been targeted most.

    In addition to shelling of villages by Serb troops, armed Serbs have been intimidating Albanians in the villages of the area.

    [14] Four Albanians Sentenced with Long Imprisonment on Alleged Terrorism Charges

    PRISHTINA, Aug 6 (KIC) - A 'Yugoslav' military court in Nis (Serbia) sentenced Wednesday four Kosovar Albanians from De^an to long-term imprisonment on terrorism-related charges.

    The Prishtina-based daily Koha Ditore said Fadil Dabi^aj (39), Bedri Kukalaj (20), Hysen Latifaj (34) were sentenced to 13 years in prison each. A minor, A.M. (aged 17), was convicted to 8 years, the paper said.

    According to the Serb indictment, the four Albanians, residents of Prejlep village of De^an, faced charges for "affiliation with hostile gangs aiming at jeopardizing order and persons".

    All the four defendants pleaded not guilty in the courtroom.

    Azem Vllasi, a defending attorney from Prishtina, told Koha Ditore that the ruling adopted by the Serb court was a political rather than legal thing. "The court failed utterly to corroborate charges against them, yet the punishment was draconian," he said.

    Serb court authorities have recently instituted criminal investigations on terrorism-related charges and affiliation with the Liberation Army of Kosova against over 150 Kosova Albanians.

    Many are being held in pre-trial detention in Peja, Gjakova, Prizren and other towns.

    [15] Serb Civilians Open Fire on Albanian Houses in Kamenica

    PRISHTINA, Aug 6 (KIC) - Albanian residents in a couple of villages of Kamenica was terrorized by their armed Serb neighbors for hours on Tuesday evening.

    The LDK chapter in Kamenica, a municipality in eastern part of Kosova, said Serbs opened fire from automatic rifles and machine- guns on Albanian farmhouses in Dajkoc, Mu^iv&r and Stralic&.

    The only thing helpless villagers could do was hide and hope that

    their Serb neighbors would quit doing that eventually.

    Serb civilians have stepped up intimidation campaigns against the Albanians in towns and villages of Kosova. The latter have been reluctant to report such cases with the Serb police, who have themselves been encouraging such drives.

    Kosova Information Center

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