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Kosova Daily Report #1539, 98-09-01

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 #1539
Prishtina, 1 September 1998


CONTENTS

  • [01] Heavy Explosions, Shooting in Tusus Suburbs of Prizren, Roads to and From Town Sealed Off
  • [02] President Rugova Receives USAID's Assistant Administrator
  • [03] 4 Albanians Killed, 7 Wounded, as Serbs Pound Village in Lipjan with Artillery Fire
  • [04] FOCUS: New School Year Starts for Some in Kosova
  • [05] Dema^i Reiterates the Alleged Kle^ka Atrocity Is Serb Publicity Stunt
  • [06] Criminal Conduct Has Occurred in Kosova, U.S. Ambassador Scheffer Says
  • [07] Serb Women Stone U.S. Office in Prishtina
  • [08] Serb Police Burns House of Albanian It Used as a Base
  • [09] Serb Troops Open Unprovoked Fire on Albanian Houses in Mitrovica
  • [10] Additional Serb Army Troops Build Up in Eastern Parts of Kosova

  • [01] Heavy Explosions, Shooting in Tusus Suburbs of Prizren, Roads to and From Town Sealed Off

    Police issues ultimatum: residents to give in weapons by noon today or face attack PRISHTINA, Sept 1 (KIC) - At 7:30 o'clock in the morning today (Tuesday), two heavy explosions preceded arms shooting near the "Tusus" suburbs of the town of Prizren and the villages of V&rrini, lying on the left side of the roadway from Prizren to the border with Albania, the LDK Information Commission in Prizren reported.

    In the immediate aftermath of the explosions, 30 Serb police vehicles swarmed the Tusus suburbs, whereas the Prizren - Zhur roadway and the town hospital have been sealed off.

    Sources from the village of Zhur said Serb forces have cut off traffic from the region of Opoja in the direction of Prizren.

    The LDK chapter in Prizren, quoting eye-witness accounts, said Serb police had ordered that the people where the explosions occurred today surrender weapons they allegedly possess.

    Serbian forces have threatened that if they did not honor the ultimatum, the police would strike back.

    Fearful of an imminent attack, part of the population started fleeing homes today morning.

    8Just after 11 o'clock, the shooting had intensified in the area, sources from Prizren told the KIC.

    [02] President Rugova Receives USAID's Assistant Administrator

    PRISHTINA, Sept 1 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova received today in Prishtina Mr. Hugh Parmer, Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and his aides. Attending the meeting also the mission director of USAID in Belgrade, Mr Richard J. Hough.

    The most recent developments in Kosova, especially the impact of the Serbian military and police offensive on the humanitarian situation, were discussed in the meeting.

    The Serb offensive has resulted in a high civilian toll, a lot of destruction of settlements and the forceful displacement of hundreds of thousands of Albanians from their homes, President Ibrahim Rugova said. The driving of Albanians out of Kosova constitutes the first sign of an ethnic cleansing campaign, he added.

    Rugova called for an urgent international intervention to halt the Serbian operations the creation of appropriate conditions for the return of Albanian refugees and displaced persons to their homes.

    The USAID Assistant Administrator, Hugh Parmer, said he was despatched here by President Clinton to see the situation and examine what can be done to alleviate the suffering of the people in Kosova in these hard times. He expressed the readiness of the U.S. Government to provide lots of humanitarian relief supplies for the people of Kosova.

    President Rugova said he was appreciative of the U.S. support and help the people of Kosova has received for years, adding that today the need for this was even greater and urgent. In this context, he said USAID's presence in Kosova is of paramount importance.

    [03] 4 Albanians Killed, 7 Wounded, as Serbs Pound Village in Lipjan with Artillery Fire

    PRISHTINA, Sept (KIC) - Four Albanians died and at least 7 were seriously wounded in Rusinoc village of Lipjan, 30 km south-west of Prishtina, on Monday evening.

    The village came under Serb heavy artillery fire at around 20:40 last evening, local sources said.

    The LDK chapter in Gllogovc said it could confirm the identity of four persons killed and of seven wounded in Rusinoc last evening.

    Abdyl Sinani (37), Ganimet Sinani (27), local residents of Rusinoc, and Besim Osmani (20) and Hajrije Osmani (f, 64), residents of the neighboring village of Fushtica, who were sheletered there, died shortly after their house was shelled.

    The following were wounded: Lutfi Neziri (17), Liman Sinani (60), Afrim Sinani (33), Mentor Sinanin (18), Fatime Sinani (f, 60), Lumnije Sinani (f, 24), and Halit Shurdiqi (23), all of them local residents of Rusinoc.

    [04] FOCUS: New School Year Starts for Some in Kosova

    The world has been watching and, by and large, standing idly by while Milosevic troops moved in to destroy Kosovar towns and villages, and the very fabric of Albanian life in this part of the world PRISHTINA, Sept 1 (KIC) - The new, 1998/99, school year started today in many elementary and secondary schools in Kosova.

    In a number of towns (including De^an, Skenderaj, Suhareka) and in scores of Albanian villages there will be nobody to attend school, or else no schoolhouses for them to go to in the wake of the Serbian aggression of the past half year.

    As many as 60 school buildings have been destroyed by Serb artillery and mortar fire, ^aush Bajrushi, a trade unions leader said Monday.

    While entire towns and villages in Kosova have been swept of the Albanian population, most of whom school-age children, others have been swelled with refugees.

    The Kosova education authorities will have to cope with the painful task of trying to include as many children as possible in education, wherever this is possible.

    After the year 1990/91 when Serb regime cracked down on the mainstream Kosovar education and kicked more than 350,000 Albanian schoolchildren and students from schools and the University of Prishtina (UP), this year will certainly be the hardest one in all respects.

    Two years ago this day, an Education Accord was signed by President Ibrahim Rugova of Kosova and then Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic providing for an unconditional return of Albanians to the public schools and the UP premises. The Vatican-based Sant Egidio community served as the intermediator in reaching the accord.

    Only an insignificant fraction of the Accord has been put to life, although for 18 months it was hailed as a breakthrough and served as evidence to the alleged international efforts and the alleged Serbian willingness to work towards a peaceful solution to the Kosova issue!

    Slobodan Milosevic outsmarted the West by signing a piece of paper he did not have the intention to honor, while preparing for outright aggression against the people of Kosova.

    The world has been watching and, by and large, standing idly by while Milosevic troops moved in to destroy Kosovar towns and villages, and the very fabric of Albanian life in this part of the world.

    The Serb criminal conduct in Kosova - Serb punitive aerial and ground bombardments of Albanian settlements which have thus far resulted in the destruction of around 30,000 houses, businesses and accessory facilities - awaits punishment.

    The international community should come clean on one thing: there are two parties in the fray in Kosova, but they should not be treated equally, impartially, pursuant to a cynical doctrine of moral equivalence of the two sides in a conflict. There is the Serbian occupier and its criminal government in Belgrade, one the one side, and the people of Kosova bearing the brunt of Serbian aggression, on the other.

    [05] Dema^i Reiterates the Alleged Kle^ka Atrocity Is Serb Publicity Stunt

    U^K political representatives speaks to the press in Kosova Presidency seat PRISHTINA, Sept 1 (KIC) - Adem Dema^i, political representative of the U^K (Kosova Liberation Army), held today a press conference in the Kosova Writers Associations (KWA) building, which is also the seat of President Ibrahim Rugova of Kosova, in Prishtina.

    Dema^i, a staunch critic of Rugova, while renewing some of the criticism of his policies, sounded somewhat more conciliatory today. He thanked the KWA and the President for the "understanding" they have shown by allowing him to organize press conferences in these premises.

    "Let it be clear to all those who cherish illusory hopes that we are at some sort of a war with the President [Rugova]: we are not at war with the President, but rather with the Serbian regime", the U^K representative said.

    Adem Dema^i reiterated his position that the alleged slaying and burning of Serbs by U^K members in Kle^ka village was but a Serb regime propaganda stunt, which "will fail".

    He called for international experts to come and investigate the allegations, as well as cases of massacres in Prekaz, Likoshan, Poklek, Qirez, and elsewhere, where Albanian civilians have been killed by Serb troops during the six months of Serb aggression in Kosova.

    [06] Criminal Conduct Has Occurred in Kosova, U.S. Ambassador Scheffer Says

    "Actions taken by Serb security forces to assault settlements and displace their populations need not to be ethnic cleansing per se to be criminal in character."

    PRISHTINA, Sept 1 (KIC) - The scale of damage and destruction being perpetrated by Serbian military and police forces in Kosova "clearly exceeds significantly any military necessity", Ambassador David Scheffer, ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, told a press conference in Zagreb, Croatia, on 31 August.

    The "FRY" has not granted Ambassador Scheffer a visa to visit Kosova.

    President Milosevic and Serbian security forces "appear to be reluctant to encourage international observation of their military actions" in Kosova, the U.S. ambassador told reporters in Zagreb.

    "The United States deplores actions by Serb authorities in Kosovo that have resulted in widespread burnings of settlements, the displacement if hundreds if thousands of Kosovar citizens, and the deaths of many innocent civilians and humanitarian aide workers. We know that enough of these actions have occurred to give rise to serious concerns under international criminal law. What is disturbing is that we do not know the full extent of this activity, particularly killings of innocent civilians, yet.", Ambassador David Scheffer said in his introductory remarks.

    An armed conflict exists in Kosova, and the War Crimes Tribunal has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Kosova pursuant to U.N. Security Council Resolution 827 (1993), which covers the former Yugoslavia, Scheffer said.

    Referring to the recent Serbian offensive in Kosova, the U.S. diplomat said the operations show more extensive destruction of civilian property. "The fact that much of the damage has occurred in areas where there was no appreciable combat and frequently well after occupation by the Serbs suggest a punitive rather than military motivation for much of the destruction."

    The U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues reminded "those Serb forces and police who swagger through villages [in Kosova] intentionally torching civilian homes and businesses that they are acting illegally and will be subject to international investigation and prosecution."

    The displacement of more than 250,000 Kosova Albanians cannot be justified under any military doctrine, David Scheffer said.

    Speaking of the Serb criminal actions in Kosova, the U.S. ambassador condemned the last week's "cowardly [Serb] mortar attack that killed three ethnic Albanian employees of the Mother Teresa NGO". That was a direct attack on a clearly marked humanitarian vehicle in open terrain during the middle of the day, he said, adding that it exemplified the criminal means the Serb security forces used to intimidate, harass and threaten aid workers.

    "Criminal conduct by any reasonable standard already has occurred in Kosova", the Ambassador said, adding that actions taken by Serb security forces to assault settlements and displace their populations need not be ethnic cleansing per se to be criminal in character criminal in character.

    [07] Serb Women Stone U.S. Office in Prishtina

    PRISHTINA, Sept 1 (KIC) - Serb women stoned the U.S. Information Service (USIS) center in Prishtina, capital of Kosova, on Monday, in protest over the alleged anti-Serb bias of the United States policies over Kosova.

    About 200 women marched to the Office, situated in the Dragodan neighborhood, from the center of Prishtina.

    Last Wednesday, in mid evening, a Molotov cocktail was tossed in the front yard of the American Office in Prishtina, causing minor damage and no injuries.

    The USIS office was opened on 5 June 1996, and welcomed by the Albanian people as an 'historic day' for Kosova.

    [08] Serb Police Burns House of Albanian It Used as a Base

    PRISHTINA, Sept 1 (KIC) - The Serb police have burned down the house of an Albanian in Magura they had used as a base for over a month.

    The LDK chapter in Lipjan side the family of Ali Seferi fled their house in the mining town of Magura in late June in the wake of a Serb police crackdown in his community. The Serbs forces who settled in his house instead first pillaged everything they could then set it ablaze before leaving.

    Local sources in Magura said scores of other houses were burned in the town and adjacent hamlets. For over two months the heavy Serb troops garrisoned in Magura where from half a dozen villages west of the town were continuously pounded with artillery fire. The hamlets of Vershec, Leletiq, Mirena, Fushtica, Shala, Krojmir were destroyed badly during continued Serb attacks.

    [09] Serb Troops Open Unprovoked Fire on Albanian Houses in Mitrovica

    PRISHTINA, Sept 1 (KIC) - Several villages in the Vraganic& village of Mitrovica were badly damage on Monday when attacked with machinegun fire from a Serb bases in the neighboring village of Shipol. Local sources told KIC that the Serb troops opened blind fire against the village yesterday afternoon at around 5 p.m. The LDK chapter in Mitrovica described today the situation in the town and the surrounding area as highly volatile. Serb troops ramble the town streets have been harassing and provoking local Albanian population with impunity, it said.

    The Serbian police arrested today morning Agim Hajrizi, Assembly chairman of the Independent Trade Unions of Kosova (ITUK). He was arrested in the street, and by early afternoon he was reported still in custody.

    The LDK Information Commission in Mitrovica said reported about other Albanians arrested by the Serbian police over the past days, including Bekim A. Ismajli (29) resident of Mitrovica, Ramadan Xh.

    Bislimin (26) from Prekazi i Ep&rm, Fehmi F. Avdiu (22) from Lubavec village of Skenderaj. The three of them were subjected to severe torture while in custody.

    At around 11:00 a.m. today, a Serb policemen Ratko Antonijevic, notorious in Mitrovica for oppressing Albanians, opened fire in the direction of tow young Albanians in the town today. Migjen Spahiu and Zejnullah Spahiu, residents of Katriot village of Sk&nderaj were later detained by him and were taken to the police station where they are reported still being held

    [10] Additional Serb Army Troops Build Up in Eastern Parts of Kosova

    PRISHTINA, Sept 1 (KIC) - Fresh Serb/Yugoslav army troops and combat equipment have been reported deploy in the eastern parts of Kosova over the past few days.

    Sources in Kamenica, a Kosova municipality bordering on Serbia, said Serb troops have been opening huge trenches with bulldozers along the border zone area. Heavy armament and additional troops have been deployed in the area in the meantime.

    The LDK chapter in Kamenica said the Serb police has mounted a campaign of intimidation of political activist and citizens alike.

    Sadik Tha^i, secretary with the LDK chapter in the town and Milot Tha^i, chairman of the local sub-branch of the party in Mu^iv&rca village were reported detained today. After having been intimidated for hours, they were both ordered to report back at the police station in the town on Wednesday.

    Kosova Information Center

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