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Kosova Daily Report #1665, 99-01-16

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 #1665
Prishtina, 16 January 1999

First Edition: 15:45 CET
Second Edition: 18:00 CET

CONTENTS

  • [01] Serbian Forces Massacre At Least Sixty Albanians in Re^ak Village of Shtime Friday
  • [02] President Rugova Condemns Serb Massacre in Kosova, Demands Prompt NATO Intervention
  • [03] Sunday, a Day of National Mourning in Kosova
  • [04] At Bebush Foothill in Re^ak, 23 Albanians Found Massacred

  • [01] Serbian Forces Massacre At Least Sixty Albanians in Re^ak Village of Shtime Friday

    PRISHTINA, Jan 16 (KIC) - Numerous sources said Serbian military and paramilitary police forces carried out Friday a carnage of between 60 and 80 Albanians in the village of Re^ak, in Shtime municipality, less than 30 km south of Prishtina, capital of Kosova.

    The LDK chapter in Shtime, which also put the number of slain Albanians between 60 and 80, told the KIC most of them were local residents of Re^ak, but also others who happened to be there Friday.

    The butchered Albanians were of all ages - women, children, and elderly, included. Most of them were found executed in the village end, while running for their lives amidst the Serb military and police offensive which was raging all day on Friday. There are killed and butchered people inside the houses of the village of Re^ak, too. Twenty-four Albanians were reported found killed in a family house guest hall ('od&' in Albanian) alone, sources said.

    According to reports, only eight of the killed Albanians were members of the U^K (Kosova Liberation Army). All the others were civilians.

    All the Albanians were killed in Re^ak, presumably in the afternoon on Friday. The village had been besieged by the Serbian military and police forces on the night of Thursday, whereas on Friday it was shelled from Serb military positions at 'Kodra e G&shtenjave' and 'Te Kryqi i Belincit' location.

    The village of Re^ak, which had 240 homesteads, was largely destroyed during the summer Serb offensives last year. Many of the residents had returned in a bid to rebuild their shattered lives.

    There has been huge material damage caused by Serb shelling Friday in the villages of Mollopolc and Petrov&. It is not known whether there are additional casualties there.

    OSCE KVM members and a number of journalists have made into the village of Re^ak today, although the roads leading to it are under a severe Serb forces' control.

    Many Re^ak residents who fled yesterday and tried to return today were stopped and arrested by the Serb police, sources said. Other Albanians were reported arrested yesterday in the area.

    Three Serb jail vans were seen today going to the police station in Shtime and back.

    Meanwhile, Serbian forces backed up by tanks and heavy artillery launched today morning a fierce attack against a number of Dushkaj& villages in western Kosova, sources said. The villages of Ratish&, Dashinoc and Mazniq were the focus of Serb attack, the U^K's news service, Kosovapress said, adding that the assault started at 8:30 hrs.

    [02] President Rugova Condemns Serb Massacre in Kosova, Demands Prompt NATO Intervention

    PRISHTINA, Jan 18 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Ibrahim Rugova condemned in the strongest terms yesterday's (Fridays') massacre of the Albanian population in the village of Re^ak, Shtime municipality, by Serbian military and police forces.

    In a statement issued today (Saturday) afternoon, President Ibrahim Rugova said the fierce Serbian attack against the Albanian civilian population in the Shtime area, less than 30 km south of Prishtina, was "carried out at a time when international factors are engaged in comprehensive efforts to find a political solution to the Kosova issue". The assault on the civilian population "is in flagrant opposition to such efforts", Rugova added.

    The Kosova President demanded an "urgent intervention by NATO forces, in accordance with the Activation Order (ACTORD), which is in force", referring to NATO decisions for possible strikes against Serb military targets, adopted last autumn.

    "Only a prompt, energetic and firm international intervention can stop the Serbian military and police machinery, and create the conditions for a political solution to the Kosova issue", President Ibrahim Rugova's statement concludes.

    [03] Sunday, a Day of National Mourning in Kosova

    PRISHTINA, Jan 16 (KIC) - In observance of the victims of the massacre of scores of Albanians in Shtime area Friday by Serbian military and police forces, the President of the Republic of Kosova Ibrahim Rugova declared Sunday, 17 January 1999, a day of national mourning in Kosova, Rugova's Office said Saturday afternoon.

    The President of the Republic of Kosova Ibrahim Rugova condemned in the strongest terms yesterday's (Fridays') massacre of the Albanian population in the village of Re^ak, Shtime municipality, by Serbian military and police forces.

    In a statement issued today (Saturday) afternoon, President Ibrahim Rugova demanded an "urgent intervention by NATO forces, in accordance with the Activation Order (ACTORD), which is in force", referring to NATO decisions for possible strikes against Serb military targets, adopted last autumn.

    "Only a prompt, energetic and firm international intervention can stop the Serbian military and police machinery, and create the conditions for a political solution to the Kosova issue", President Ibrahim Rugova concluded.

    [04] At Bebush Foothill in Re^ak, 23 Albanians Found Massacred

    PRISHTINA, Jan 16 (KIC) - At the Bebush foothill, in the western part of Re^ak village of Shtime, 25 km south of Prishtina, OSCE verifiers and journalists saw today the bodies of 23 Albanians massacred yesterday by Serbian forces. The Albanian civilians were of all ages.

    Between 60 and 80 Albanians were killed by Serbian forces yesterday in Shtime area, according to local sources. 48 of them were identified by late afternoon today.

    The KIC reporter saw the bodies of 23 Albanians lying on a ditch near the Bebush uphill.

    Banush Azemi (6O) had his head cut off, whereas Ragip Bajrami (around 40 years old) had his heart extricated. The bodies of the other Albanians had signs of an execution from point-blank range, with bullets in their heads and necks.

    Eye-witnesses said the 23 slain Albanians had been sheltered in a house basement, in a bid to avoid being hit by the Serb forces' shelling.

    When Serb infantry troops entered the village, they rounded up the people and took them to the Bebush foothill, where they were executed.

    Eye-witnesses said the mutilated body of a woman was inside her house. They said she had been slain in the family house courtyard and dragged inside the house by Serb forces. The killing of the woman had been witnessed by two children, her cousins, a girl and a boy. The small children hid in a bathroom outside the house, The girl, a little bit older than the boy, had forced the boy keep his mouth shut in order not to scream and thus be found by the Serb criminals.

    Shukri Buja, a local U^K (Kosova Liberation Army) commander, said the civilian Albanian population in Re^ak was massacred by the Yugoslav army. There was no resistance in the village of Re^ak, he claimed, adding that the U^K units had tried to protect the Albanian population from the left wing. The OSCE verifiers' presence in the area prevented the U^K from engaging the Serb troops, according to Buja.

    Meanwhile, OSCE Kosova Verification Mission (KVM) head, William Walker, who was on the scene of the massacre today, said he could not find words to say something about this. He called it "a horrendous event", adding that it "looks like execution", the murder of villagers, farmers.

    Ambassador Walker said he had seen other war scenes, but this was the most 'horrendous acts' he had seen.

    The KVM head is to hold a press conference in Prishtina at 18:00 hrs.

    Kosova Information Center

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