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Kosova Daily Report #1519, 98-08-12

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 #1519
Prishtina, 12 August 1998


CONTENTS

  • [01] Serbs Step Up Military Offensive in De^an Area
  • [02] Alarming Situation Reported in Junik
  • [03] NATO Reviews Military Planning to Bring an End to the Violence in Kosova
  • [04] Serb Offensive in Gjakova Area Continues
  • [05] Serb Troops Shell Four Albanian Villages in Suhareka Tuesday
  • [06] Thousands of Displaced Albanians Live Rough in the Open
  • [07] Albanian Villages in Obiliq Under Repeated Serb Fire for Two Months
  • [08] Serbs Pound Three Villages in Western Drenica Area
  • [09] Shtupel Villagers Urge Red Cross Help Evacuate Their Kin Inside Serb Siege
  • [10] Baby Dies after Living in the Open for a Week
  • [11] Serbs Set Ablaze Wheatfields in Bardhi Village
  • [12] Serbs Force Burial of Unidentified Albanians in Gjakova
  • [13] Four Unidentified Bodies Taken to Peja Morgue
  • [14] Albanians Indicted for Alleged Hostile Activity
  • [15] Trial of Prizren College Student Leaders Postponed for Security Reasons

  • [01] Serbs Step Up Military Offensive in De^an Area

    - Many reported killed; names of three killed men known; a fourth, still unidentified, is in Shaptej.

    - A large number of Albanians wounded; names of 45 known.

    - Serbian troops have suffered losses, too.

    - Over 100,000 Albanians live rough in the open, encircled by Serb troops PRISHTINA, Aug 12 (KIC) - The most recent Serbian offensive, in its fourth day today (Wednesday), has stepped up against a dozen Albanian villages in the municipality of De^an, in western Kosova.

    In the unfolding offensive, more than 250 Serb military vehicles of all kinds have been put in action, the LDK Information Commission in De^an said today.

    The target of this ferocious offensive are the villages of Gllogjan, Grama^el, Baballo^, Shaptej, Dubrav&, Lluk& e Ep&rme, Irzniq, Prejlep, Carrebreg i Ul&t, Beleg, Kodrali, and other hamlets in the vicinity.

    Army tanks, heavy artillery, as well as infantry units of the Serb army have been involved in the latest operations against Albanian villages, sources said.

    An unspecified number of Albanians has been reported killed in the ongoing offensive, regarded to have seen some of the heaviest fighting between Serb troops and local Albanian resistance forces.

    Nexhat Humaj, Xheladin Mushkolaj, Naim M. Nimanaj, resident of Gllogjan, and a still unidentified man in the village of Shaptej, are only four out of many others known to have been killed, LDK sources in De^an said. (A source spoke to the KIC of at least 8 killed, see news item below.) These sources named at least 45 wounded Albanians in the recent days: Bashkim Aliaj, Arian Malaj, Yll Morina, Elan ^eragjiu, Januz Rexhaj, Bashkim Sejfiaj, Genc Rexhaj, Sabit Kastrati, Ali Sylaj, Muhamet Haskaj, Fatos Salihaj, Jashar Zogaj, Haxhi Mustafaj, Ismet Haskaj, G&zim D&rvishaj, Drilon Haskaj, Vaze Lokaj (f), Hajdar Demhasaj, Sami Lokaj, Jashar Zogaj, Idriz Rexhaj, Isuf Haskaj, Leonard Aliaj, Bekim Vishaj, Xhevat Zenuni, Shahe Bajramaj (f), Zade Bajramaj (f), Isuf Aliaj, Ismet Aliaj, Jeton Halilaj, Burhan Halilaj, Hajdar Demhasaj, Jeton Lushaj, Af&rdita Hajdaraj (f), Arben Hajdaraj, Driton Mustafaj, Gani Ukaj, Luan Qerimaj, Astrit Ahmetaj, Zenun Mataj, Lulzim Mataj, Ismet Neziraj, Gani Beqaj, Nezir Lushaj, Dem& Ramaj.

    More Albanians are reported wounded, whose names have not been made known though.

    The local Albanian resistance forces, including the Ushtria ^lirimtare e Kosov&s (U^K, Kosova Liberation Army), have inflicted considerable losses and material damage on the Serb troops, local sources said.

    The civilian Albanian population, displaced from the villages at the center of the fighting, have been reported in a desperately dangerous position. Reports said some 25,000 Albanians have been camped - rather huddled - in the villages of Isniq, Prapaqan, Broliq, Lumbardh, Dubovik and the vicinity, most of whom are living rough in the open, without food, water and medication.

    In addition to them, this area has been crammed also by some 80,000 Albanians displaced from the municipalities of Peja ('Pec'), De^an, and Gjakova. They live in terrible conditions and fearful of a Serb massacre, being as they are encircled by Serb forces.

    Local Albanian structures in De^an called on the international community today to intervene urgently and save the unprotected Albanian population in the face of the Serbian aggression.

    [02] Alarming Situation Reported in Junik

    PRISHTINA, Aug 12 (KIC) - A local source, speaking to the KIC by phone from a place near Junik, said today the situation was alarming in the area amidst the unrelenting Serbian offensive.

    Today, Serb troops have resumed using heavy artillery and firing from all sides in their assault on Albanian settlement in the Rrafshi i Dukagjinit (Dukagjini plateau).

    Over 100,000 people have been crammed into an area encompassing five villages, the source said. The population is encircled, under a ring of steel maintained by Serb forces.

    The source told the KIC at least 8 Albanians are known to have been killed in the De^an villages these days, 38 are reported wounded, whereas 17 are considered as missing.

    Touching on the plight of over 100,000 refugees, encircled by Serb forces, the source said earlier shelters have been shelled. "The Serbian attacks are stronger by the hour. The situation is alarming.", the source told the KIC.

    The United States should intervene to halt Serbian attacks and save the civilian population, the source said. It is virtually impossible to have the population evacuated, to get it across the border to Albania, because the road is rugged and dangerous, the source said.

    Most of the people encircled there are women, children and the elderly, and it is impossible for the local Albanian resistance forces to protect them from Serb artillery and helicopter gunships, the source pointed out.

    The international community should intervene to evacuate the population in the direction of Peja, the source said in a telephone conversation with the KIC today.

    Meanwhile, sources said German, Greek and Finnish members of the Kosova Diplomatic (monitoring) Mission visited some conflict areas in De^an yesterday (Tuesday).

    [03] NATO Reviews Military Planning to Bring an End to the Violence in Kosova

    These include the use of ground and air power and in particular a full- range of options for the use of air power alone.

    PRISHTINA, Aug 12 (KIC) - Following is the text of a statement by the Secretary General of NATO, Javier Solana, issued today (Wednesday) after a meeting of the Council of the Alliance in Brussels.

    (Begin text) The Secretary General of NATO, Dr. Javier Solana, is deeply concerned by the continuing violence in Kosovo and its effect on the civilian population of the region for which President Milosevic bears a heavy responsibility.

    The Alliance fully supports the efforts of the international community to encourage negotiations on a solution to the conflict.

    To this end, the Council today reviewed military planning for a full range of options to bring an end to violence and to create the conditions for negotiations.

    These include the use of ground and air power and in particular a full- range of options for the use of air power alone. They ensure that NATO can act swiftly and effectively should the need arise.

    NATO's military authorities have been authorised to approach nations informally about the forces which they would be ready to commit to possible air operations.

    The Alliance continues to monitor the situation closely.

    (End text)

    [04] Serb Offensive in Gjakova Area Continues

    PRISHTINA, Aug 12 (KIC) - Serbian military and police attacks against the villages of Gjakova, such as Here^, Firaj&, Dobrigje and the area near the Suka e Biteshit, resumed today (Wednesday), the LDK Information Commission in Gjakova reported.

    Reports said there was a buildup of Serb troops in the villages straddling the Gjakov&-De^an roadway.

    The huge village of Juniku and the surrounding area was being shelled today, sources from Gjakova confirmed.

    Besides the incessant shelling of the villages, a series of heavy detonations was heard today at 7 o'clock in the morning. The sound of blasts - thought not to be from artillery shells, but of strong explosive devices - was heard in the town of Gjakova.

    Yesterday afternoon and in the evening, Serb military helicopters flew over the area and near the military garrison.

    Local sources in Gjakova said that judging from the Serb military movements, the intensity of the fighting between Serb forces and local Albanian resistance forces was heavy.

    There have been no immediate reports on casualty figures.

    The town of Gjakova is virtually sealed off by Serb forces.

    Serb forces manning checkpoints in the suburbs have been preventing the people displaced from their homes in the attacked villages from actually getting into the town. Albanians are being routinely arrested and ill- treated in these checkpoints, sources said.

    [05] Serb Troops Shell Four Albanian Villages in Suhareka Tuesday

    PRISHTINA, Aug 12 (KIC) - The villages of Bodakov& and Maqitev&, in the municipality of Suhareka, were pounded for a couple of hours yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon. Sources said the two villages came under Serb machine- gun fire at around 3 p.m. yesterday.

    The LDK chapter in Suhareka said two other Albanian villages in the municipality, Peqan and Sllapuzhan, were attacked by Serb troops later in the evening yesterday. Albanian settlements in the area were bombarded from two major bases in Qafa e Duhl&s and Biraq&.

    The Suhareka LDK Information Commission could not say whether there were casualties in the villages attacked by Serb troops yesterday.

    [06] Thousands of Displaced Albanians Live Rough in the Open

    They have been crammed in an area between Skivjan, Novosell& and Dujak& villages in Gjakova municipality PRISHTINA, Aug 12 (KIC) - In an area between the villages of Skivjan, Novosell& and Dujak&, thousands of Albanians displaced from their homes amidst the Serb offensive in Gjakova have been living rough in the open for days, the LDK Information Commission in Gjakova reported.

    Their living conditions have been described as alarming, as the Albanians are without food and proper drinking water. Women, children and elderly are living rough in the open.

    Reports said there was shooting overnight and today in the Reka e Keqe villages, especially in the area close to the border with Albania.

    Observers said this could mean the Serb military has been obstructing passage to neighboring Albania for the displaced population.

    Meanwhile, an extremely desperate situation with regard to provision of basic staples is reported in the town of Gjakova itself, whose population has been swelled to unprecedented proportions.

    Basic food supplies are lacking, as commercial goods have been blocked from entering Gjakova, while humanitarian relief supplies reaching the area have been far from meeting the needs of the population.

    [07] Albanian Villages in Obiliq Under Repeated Serb Fire for Two Months

    PRISHTINA, Aug 12 (KIC) - Half a dozen villages in the tiny municipality of Obiliq, north-west of Prishtina, have been held inside a virtual siege by Serb forces, police, military and paramilitary units, for almost two months now.

    The LDK chapter in Obiliq said the villages of Graboc i Ep&rm, Shipitull&, Siboc, Lajthisht& and Hamidi, have been fired into by Serbs on a daily basis. Serb attacks in this area have not been as heavy as in other parts of Kosova, but they have added to the insecurity of the population.

    For almost two months, the Albanian population in the Obiliq municipality and the villages around the open-cast coal mine in Bella^evc have been on a move. Once they feel the situation calming down, they decide to return to their homes but they are constrained to flee again when Serb begin pounding their farmsteads with machine-gun and artillery fire, the LDK Information Commission said.

    Serb ('Yugoslav') army aircraft flew overhead the area in Fush&- Kosova and Obiliq for a couple of hours today morning, sources said.

    [08] Serbs Pound Three Villages in Western Drenica Area

    PRISHTINA, Aug 12 (KIC) - Serb forces mounted an artillery attack today against two villages of Gllogovc and one in the neighboring village of Lipjan, 25 km south-west of Prishtina.

    The LDK chapter in Lipjan said the villages of Fushtic& e Ep&rme and Fushtic& e Poshtme (Gllogovc municipality) and Miren& (Lipjan municipality) were pounded with artillery fire from a Serb position on the Golesh hills.

    There has been no word about possible casualties.

    The LDK Information Commission in Lipjan said it could only learn that several farmhouses were burning in the three villages by midday today.

    [09] Shtupel Villagers Urge Red Cross Help Evacuate Their Kin Inside Serb Siege

    PRISHTINA, Aug 12 (KIC) - The LDK chapter in Vushtrri said several Albanians from the villages Shtupel of Klina, central Kosova, came to the office today saying that their family members have been trapped in their villages encircled by the Serb troops. At least 28 members of the Arifaj extended family have been holed up in the village for several days now unable to flee as they fear Serb massacre they said.

    The Shtupel villagers urged the International Red Cross to intervene with the Serbs authorities to secure the evacuation of their kin.

    [10] Baby Dies after Living in the Open for a Week

    PRISHTINA, Aug 12 (KIC) - A one-year-old toddler, Donjet& Beqiri from Turiqefc village of Sk&nderaj ('Srbica'), died yesterday soon after her family was sheltered in Brusnik village of Vushtrri.

    LDK sources in Vushtrri ('Vucitern') said the Beqiri family had spent seven days in the open until making it to Brusnik village.

    They could not do anything about their baby girl, who got sick in the forests.

    Thousands of refugees are still hiding in the mountains in several parts of Kosova lacking food, clean water and medication.

    [11] Serbs Set Ablaze Wheatfields in Bardhi Village

    PRISHTINA, Aug 12 (KIC) - The Serb troops set ablaze a dozens of hectares of ready-to-be-harvested wheatfields in Bardhi i Madh (Bella^evc) village on Tuesday morning, local sources said.

    LDK sources in Fush& Kosova said that large areas of wheatfields could not be harvested in the municipality due to security reasons.

    The village of Bardhi and several other hamlets around the open-pit coal mines have been held sealed off by heavy Serb troops and snipers for almost two months now. A few days ago the Serb authorities in the municipality have told the local population that they could harvest their fields, but many were already burned, activists in the ares have told the Bujku newspaper.

    [12] Serbs Force Burial of Unidentified Albanians in Gjakova

    PRISHTINA, Aug 12 (KIC) - Serb forces, which actually rule the town of Gjakova, ordered the burial of six Albanian killed earlier by Serb military and police, the LDK Information Commission said.

    The identity of five of the bodies buried today was unknown.

    The sixth was the body of Hasan Hazir Osmani (24), resident of Nivokaz village, who was brought to the Gjakova hospital morgue last evening.

    [13] Four Unidentified Bodies Taken to Peja Morgue

    PRISHTINA, Aug 12 (KIC) - Serb troops took four unidentified corpses to the town morgue in Peja ('Pec') on Tuesday, sources said.

    Witnesses said two of the bodies were male, one of them a man in his mid- fifties, and the other boy in his late teens. Two other corpses were of young girls.

    [14] Albanians Indicted for Alleged Hostile Activity

    PRISHTINA, Aug 12 (KIC) - Serb court authorities in Peja ('Pec') have brought charges earlier this week against five Albanians from the region, accusing them for alleged terrorist activities.

    Sources in Peja named the following Albanians indicted by the Serb- run District Court in Peja: D&rvish Gacaferri (25) from Junik, ^aush Ahmeti (53) from Sheremetaj (Gjakova), Gani Rexhepaj (19) from Here^ (Gjakova), Adem Jasiqi (46) from Jasiq (De^an).

    Serb media reported earlier this month that criminal proceedings have been instituted against at least 140 Albanians in Prizren, Rahovec, and Malisheva.

    [15] Trial of Prizren College Student Leaders Postponed for Security Reasons

    PRISHTINA, Aug 12 (KIC) - The trial of nine leading members of a student organization in Prizren which was due to open on Tuesday in the Serb-run District Court in Prizren was postponed for security reasons, the Prishtina- based Bujku said today.

    Top leaders of the Student Independent Union of the Prizren-based "Xhevded Doda" teachers training college - Bylbyl Duraku, Nijazi Kryeziu, Aqif Iljazi, Behare Tafallari, Leonor& Morina, Jehon& Krasniqi, Sejdi Bellanica, D&frim Rifaj and Sherif Iljazi - face Serb regime charges of alleged "terrorist activity", namely support and involvement in the armed resistance movement.

    Quoting sources in the Prizren District Court, Bujku said the trial of Albanian students was put off as some of the female defendants are being held in a jail in Lipjan, and that the road between Lipjan and Prizren is not safe. The trial is expected to begin on 19 August, a defending attorney, Syl& Hoxha said.

    The Prizren College student leaders have been held in Serb custody since last spring. Witnesses, including defendants' attorneys, have claimed the detainees have been subject to outrageous torture during the pre-trial period.

    Kosova Information Center

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