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Crisis 1999
News Archive 1999

Violence against Kosovo Serbs continues

It was very tense situation throughout most of Kosovo's major cities yesterday. Frightened Serbs from Pristina and Pec flee as their houses blaze after being looted by ethnic Albanians. Serbian Orthodox Church announced that 10 killed and burned Serbs were found in the village of Vitomirica near Pec, while two Serbs from Pec, Jovo Djikanovic and Zdravko Cupic were abducted. Radio "Svetigora" reports that KLA members set fire at Serbian Orthodox Church of Sveta Trojica in Velika Reka, and the house of Momcilo Blagotic, president of the Christian Community in Pristina. The same source quoted statement of Pecka Patrijarsija priest Radomir Nikcevic that the last Serbs have left from Pristina suburbs Suncani Breg, Dardanija and Vranjevac. KFOR members confiscated 247 automatic machine guns "Kalashnikov" in the last few days in Pristina's Medical Center. For the second time in the last three days, American Marines were under fire last night in Gnjilane. After they answered to the attack, one sniper, whose identity hasn't been published, was killed.

KFOR prevented the confrontation between Serbs and Albanians in the city of Kosovska Mitrovica. The incident occurred when the group of Albanians tried to break trough the French KFOR cordon, and get to the part of town which is under Serbian control. At the time of the incident the KLA leader Hashim Taqi invited Albanians to stay in their part of the city, and told them: "We want to solve our problems peacefully". The UNHCR representative described the situation in Kosovska Mitrovica as "ticking of the infernal machine".

Around one thousand citizens of Kosovo Polje, who gathered yesterday in front of the church in the center of the town, decided to stay in Kosovo. The gathering followed several incidents that happened in the area of Kosovo Polje and caused expulsion of many Serbs from the town. KFOR Commander, British General Sir Michael Jackson, Chief of the civilian UN Mission in Kosovo Segio Vieria de Mello, as well as the leader of the president of the Serbian Resistance Movement, Momcilo Trajkovic and Kosovo Polje major Dobrica Lazic attended the meeting. "Our mandate is very clear - that is to provide peace in Kosovo, security and reconciliation," General Jackson said. "KFOR is stronger and stronger each day, and every KFOR soldier knows that his duty is to protect all the citizens of Kosovo," he added.

Today's British Daily "Guardian" writes that Commander of NATO troops in Europe, Wesly Clark on Friday asked for the international police force to be sent to Kosovo, as soon as possible, admitting that he doesn't have enough soldiers to prevent killings, ransacking and abuses.

International Committee of the Red Cross said that Yugoslavia turned over 166 ethnic Albanians from Kosovo who had been detained in Serb prisons.

Source: Free Serbia

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